Guest blog: Innovation in Maryland

Blog post by Kelly M. Schulz

Kelly M. Schulz brings a wealth of knowledge to the Maryland Department of Commerce from her years of experience working in the government, in the private sector and as a small business owner. She had previously served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) since her confirmation in February 2015 and is also a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates. She was appointed Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce in January 2019.


New ideas and new technologies are critical drivers of economic growth. They can be the basis for new startup companies, allow established businesses to evolve and grow, and support the creation of new, competitive jobs.

Maryland prides itself in being a place where new ideas emerge and flourish, which is why we are consistently ranked as one of the most innovative states in the country.  Our share of STEM professionals in the workforce, our research and development spending, our large community of tech companies, and additional factors, place us in the Top Ten on indexes produced by WalletHub, Bloomberg, the Consumer Technology Association, and other organizations

We have unparalleled assets, including world-class research universities like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland System, 78 federal laboratories—more than twice as many as any other state—and military installations such as Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. New technology developed at these facilities is often spun out into new startup companies.

Our workforce is one of the most highly-educated in the nation, boasting the highest concentration of employed doctoral scientists and engineers as well as the highest concentration of workers in STEM occupations. Baltimore City has been named the best American city for women in business by and is the second-best city in the nation for women in technology, according to

To continue developing and capitalizing on our strengths in this area, the Maryland Department of Commerce has a number of programs to support innovation in academia and in business.

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund provides matching funds to nonprofit higher education institutions to support research endowments.  Over the past five years, Commerce has provided more than $38.1 million—matched by approximately $47 million in private donations—to support research professorships in fields such as computer science, data analytics, neurosurgery, housing, and public health.

Commerce’s Research and Development Tax Credit program allows businesses with eligible expenditures to qualify for two possible tax credits, while the Biotechnology Investment Incentive and Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credits encourage investment in qualified Maryland companies in those innovative industry sectors.

In addition, the Buy Maryland Cybersecurity Tax Credit helps businesses pay for cyber services purchased from qualified Maryland companies, while the Employer Security Clearances Costs Tax Credit helps cyber companies ensure their employees are qualified to work on valuable federal contracts.

Several members of the Commerce team also work directly with universities, military and federal installations, and businesses in innovative industry sectors to support business growth and retention, job creation, and attracting new companies to Maryland.

Our Division of Military and Federal Affairs helps develop and maintain relationships between private-sector companies and Maryland’s military and federal installations, while our Division of Business and Industry Sector Development includes specialists in biohealth and the life sciences, cybersecurity and aerospace, education and workforce development, and strategic industries and entrepreneurship.

Supporting innovation and research—whether it happens in academia, in the military, or at our private companies—helps ensure Maryland’s leadership in key industries, and the resulting advancements will fuel future business growth and the creation of good, new jobs in our state.

Rally with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce on January 22, 2020, at Meet the State and make your voice heard. Click here for more information.

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