HCEDA Announces the Completion of Phase One Construction on the Howard County Innovation Center; MCE Relocates to Facility

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) announced the completion of the first phase of the Howard County Innovation Center Project with the conclusion of 3rd floor renovations and the relocation of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) to the facility.

As part of the Innovation Center project, the third floor of 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive was fully renovated and converted into a premier 16,000 sq. ft. business incubator space, featuring private offices, coworking space, conference rooms, and two multiuse classroom spaces. It is now home to the MCE’s 19 resident companies, multiple business support organizations, and four HCEDA staff members, further adding to the entrepreneurial ecosystem being created in the building.

“Bringing the community and resources of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship into the Howard County Innovation Center was a necessary step towards completing the overall mission of this building,” said Lawrence Twele, CEO of the HCEDA. “The MCE brings a set of resources that are critical to the support of our small business and entrepreneurial community. It is our goal to make this newly renovated space the flagship for entrepreneurship across the region.”

Progress on the construction was made possible thanks to a partnership between HCEDA and the Howard County Government. In March, County Executive Calvin Ball and the HCEDA signed a memorandum of understanding to move the Center forward with renewed leadership.

“Since the start of my administration, we have made it a priority to restore support to our Innovation Center and breathe new life into this incredible project by signing a memorandum of understanding with the HCEDA,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Today we take another step forward in our mission to support small businesses in Howard County and make our economy a leader in generating innovative ideas. With this hub for entrepreneurs we will continue to grow our culture of forward-thinking business and secure long-term success in Howard County.”

The MCE, which is an initiative of the HCEDA, is tasked with supporting the growth and development of small businesses and entrepreneurship in Howard County. The center was previously located at 9250 Bendix Rd in Columbia, a space it occupied since its founding in 2000.

The MCE offers a variety of services for the small business community. Individuals interested in starting or growing their small business can meet with SCORE Councilors or the SBDC at no charge to the company.  High growth companies focusing on product creation or intellectual property are eligible to apply to become a member of the center as either a resident or affiliate, providing them with one on one business mentoring as well as the option for office space in the facility.  Additionally, the MCE is also a host to business courses and training throughout the year on a variety of topics of interest.

As part of the relocation of the MCE, the HCEDA’s Catalyst Loan Fund and Howard Tech Council also moved to the Howard County Innovation Center. The Catalyst Loan Fund is part of Maryland’s Video Lottery Terminal Small, Minority and Woman-Owned Business Account initiative. The fund is a locally managed source of capital used to finance start-ups and expanding businesses statewide whose projects will create permanent jobs and leverage private sector investment. The Howard Tech Council is an active business networking and professional development group with over 250 local businesses as members. They offer roundtables, industry talks, and networking events throughout the year for the business community.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Howard County Innovation Center can visit https://hocoinnovationcenter.com/.

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