TEDCO CEO talks turkey about startups

By Christine Collins

(COLUMBIA, Md.—Nov. 20, 2017)  Ask small business entrepreneurs what they’re thankful for this year and they’ll probably have two answers: funding and people.

As a corporation dedicated to providing both, TEDCO’s partnership with Evergreen Advisors is a new piece in the startup pie.

TEDCO CEO George Davis says startups need cash, but mentors and connection are critical, too. So he’s taking the corporation in a more entrepreneurially complete direction.

“A lot of what we want to do is going to be about collaborations and partnerships,” he recently told the Baltimore Business Journal. “We want to work with those who have strengths we don’t have, to create more synergy.”

The state legislature initiated TEDCO in 1998 to help move research out of universities and labs and into the marketplace. Today, it’s an independent organization—still getting funding from the state—whose mission is to provide funding early in the startup process, when entrepreneurs have an innovative concept and they need to develop it enough to make it marketable. Alternatively, TEDCO comes in when the startup has developed the idea, but isn’t yet ready to present proof of concept or revenue.

One of the ways TEDCO does this is through relationships with other innovation-supporters, like universities, labs, and investors.

Now the Chamber member, which is also known as the Maryland Technology Development Corp., is partnering with Evergreen Advisors to create what it calls a loaned executive program. The partnership is intended to help grow the executive exchange program TEDCO has long offered, which grants startups temporary executive leaders, coaches, roundtables, support and workshops.

Davis decided to expand that program when his first few months on the job yielded a lot of positive feedback about it.

“We want to give our companies as much access, as much opportunity as possible,” Davis told the Baltimore Business Journal recently. “Whatever they might be, we want to gather the best resources and put them in front of the people who need them most.”

Even though there are a lot of places an entrepreneur can go for this kind of support, Davis said, those resources are siloed. His plan for a “TEDCO 2.0” would bring them together.

For the organization built on funding start-ups, that means gathering some resources of its own. The partnership with Evergreen means a bigger operation, and that, according to Davis, means TEDCO needs more support. So it’s looking for partners from every sector that might be willing to help with funding and services.

For a corporation founded on collaboration, there’s bound to be a recipe for success.





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