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Invest Maryland Challenge attracts 37 competitors

A competition aimed at supporting the growth of start-up companies in Maryland will see at least 37 businesses competing for prizes totaling $300,000 in services and grants. The Invest Maryland Challenge will hold competitions in the categories of life sciences, computer hardware and software and general. The life science and computer competitions are only accepting Maryland companies as competitors, while the general category is open to businesses from any state, regardless of industry.

Registered participants will also have the opportunity to meet mentors who can help them with the details of Business formation and effectively growing their companies. In addition to a $100,000 business grant, competitors also have the chance to attract the attention of a number of early stage investors.

Registration will remain open through December of 2012, so the competition's organizers expect even more companies to sign up for participation in the challenge. Winners in each category are scheduled to be announced in March of 2013.

The competition, which is organized in part by the state Department of Business and Economic Development, is part of a larger plan aimed at encouraging early-stage technology companies to establish themselves in Maryland. The $84 million Invest Maryland plan was successfully passed by the state legislature in 2011.

In order to take part in Invest Maryland Challenge, prospective registrants must be companies in the seed, early growth or start-up stage with annual profits of less than $1 million and less than 25 employees. Additionally, each participant must be a "duly-organized legal entity and in good standing with the state in which they are legally registered."

Sole proprietorships are prohibited from competing. Companies from outside of Maryland that wish to take part in Invest Maryland Challenge must spend over 50 percent of their winnings within the state if they are awarded a business grant. Additionally, these companies must enter the competition with the intention of doing business in Maryland.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "37 companies - and counting - will compete in Invest Maryland Challenge startup competition," Gus G. Sentementes, Oct. 12, 2012

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