Maryland's flag. (Photo by Flickr user Thad Zajdowicz, used via a Creative Commons License)
Maryland's flag. (Photo by Flickr user Thad Zajdowicz, used via a Creative Commons License)

Arti Santhanam, PhD, was already juggling scientific consulting, nonprofit work, molecular biology and cancer research when TEDCO got on her radar.

TEDCO offers funding and business resources for technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. She keyed in on the organization in 2014 when it committed more than $10 million in grants and loans to fund stem cell-based research and cures through its Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

Seeing TEDCO’s dedication to backing not only important medical advancements but also the careers of young scientists creating them inspired Santhanam to join the organization as an award manager for its Maryland Innovation Initiative later that year.

“There were so many postdocs that were graduating from the National Institutes of Health and had nowhere to go next,” she said. “There weren’t many career opportunities outside of becoming a research professor, so seeing the state invest that kind of money in life sciences research made a huge impact on me.”

Now, Santhanam serves as the executive director for TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), which provides funding to commercialize technology coming from university-based research.

MII has invested $48 million to create more than 140 companies that have raised nearly $800 million in follow-on investments since its inception in 2012. Plus, the average MII company raises its initial capital within just two years of completing the program.

But TEDCO’s efforts to support early-stage businesses originated long before those programs.

The Maryland General Assembly created TEDCO in 1998 to expand access to capital and growth opportunities for everyone in the state. A quarter-century of providing resources for aspiring entrepreneurs later, and it’s widely recognized as the hub of Maryland’s innovation ecosystem.