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TEDCO’s Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII) is designed to enhance technology commercialization and provide technical and business assistance to small and early-stage companies in rural Maryland.

Rural Business Innovation Initiative

TEDCO’s Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII) assists start-up and small technology-based businesses in the rural areas of Maryland to advance the company to a higher level of success. The program offers professional ongoing mentoring and targeted projects to help companies succeed at no cost to the company.

The program is designed to provide technical and business assistance to small companies and early-stage technology-based companies in rural Maryland as defined by the Rural Maryland Council. The goal of the program is to help companies overcome business and technical hurdles and advance to the next growth level. There is no cost to the company to receive assistance.


Assistance to companies is provided by a regional RBII mentor. Each region has a local RBII business mentor, whose job is to evaluate potential clients, provide resources, consulting services, and technical management assistance. Mentors work closely with company clients at their business.Examples of company assistance are:

  • Business model or strategy
  • Market strategy/analysis and competitive analysis
  • Funding opportunities and introductions
  • Financial analysis
  • Business plan or grant review
  • Intellectual property
  • Prototype development
  • Manufacturing problem solving


RBII mentors will meet with all companies for an initial assessment. Companies qualified to receive mentoring and project assistance must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be involved in developing new technologies/products or utilizing technology to create new or expand their business
  • Must have fewer than 16 employees
  • Annual revenues $1 million or less
  • Good standing with MD Dept. of Taxation & Assessments

Rural Business Innovation Initiative Mentors

Southern Region

(Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s Counties)

Justin Ferguson

Western Region
(Washington, Allegany, Garrett Counties)

Chuck Ernst

Northern Region
(Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Carroll, and Northern Baltimore Counties)

Karen Zuccardi

Lower Shore Region
(Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and Worcester Counties)

Bill Bernard

How to Apply

To receive RBII mentoring or grant support, please contact the mentor from your region. Companies that have received mentoring services from the RBII program for at least 90 days are eligible to apply for $25,000 in pre-seed funding. Before applying, applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the applicable TEDCO investment legislation regulations at:

The Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII) is designed to enhance technology commercialization and provide technical and business assistance to small and early-stage companies in urban Maryland.

Urban Business Innovation Initiative

The Urban Business Innovation Initiative (UBII) is designed to provide technical and business assistance to underserved early-stage companies in key urban areas.

Assistance to companies is provided by TEDCO’s Venture Growth Advisors, who work in concert with our collaborative partners to assure a high level of support for these companies. Each urban region has a dedicated, highly experienced Venture Growth Advisor who evaluates potential clients and provides mentoring as well as connection to support programs offered by TEDCO and our collaborative partners.

Support programs include I-Corps, UBII project funding, the Builder Fund, partner programs, and other critical pathways to funding, education, and guidance.




How We Support Innovation In Maryland’s Urban Areas

  • Connection to support offered by collaborative partners
  • Guidance for development of emerging technologies for commercialization
  • Teaming with a network of local service providers for local small businesses
  • Providing grant and business support through UBII and collaborative partners
  • Providing general business assistance to nascent-stage companies:
    • Technology commercialization
    • Market channels
    • Financing options
    • Building a management team
    • SBIR and STTR proposal writing assistance
    • Prototype development
  • Identifying funding opportunities for early-stage companies

Supported Sectors Include

  • Cybersecurity
  • Educational Software
  • Environmental Solutions
  • Govtech & Civic Solutions
  • Renewable Energy
  • IoT Devices
  • Nanotechnology
  • Public Health & Safety
  • Social Impact
  • Software Developers
  • Transportation & Mobility
  • Urban Farming

UBII Venture Growth Advisor

Baltimore City
Tammira Lucas, DBA

Prince George’s County
Malcolm Tyson

Our Collaborative Partners

UBII Collaborative Partners


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