Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today the launch of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE). MCE is dedicated to strengthening economic development opportunities throughout Maryland by fostering innovation at the local level, bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem to create a pervasive culture of entrepreneurship across the county and the state.
The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship will encompass the business incubator (formerly the NeoTech Incubator), the Business Resource Center, the Howard Technology Council and the Catalyst Loan Fund.
“Howard County has earned the reputation of being an important, strategic region to cultivate, support, and bolster innovative ideas and companies across the entire State,” said Executive Ulman. “We will continue to focus on job creation by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, and this Center is poised to help them succeed.”
The programs offered at the MCE will be provided in partnership with other Howard County and state-based resources, including research institutions that will facilitate the commercialization of technologies to help spur innovation and create new businesses.
“We are building a culture of entrepreneurship in Howard County that provides a model and the environment for businesses to launch and grow in Maryland,” said Laura Neuman, Director and CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.
“The first step in launching this new initiative was finding the right person to run it,” added Neuman. Julie Lenzer Kirk will serve as Executive Director of the MCE. She previously taught at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is the co-founder of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a non-profit that develops and delivers innovative programs to expand economic opportunity for women through entrepreneurship.
Kirk was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record in 2005 and 2008.
She is also a member of the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s Entrepreneurial Alliance and currently chairs the D.C. Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring together the resources I wish I had when launching my first business 16 years ago,” said Julie Lenzer Kirk. “The raw materials are here in Howard County, and I’m looking forward to working on the EDA team to help businesses thrive.”