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Maryland takes pride in being a hub for global business. Hundreds of businesses that have offices in Maryland touch the world in some way. 

The Maryland Innovation Lab, co-led by the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) and L Marks, makes the hub even stronger. How? By providing Maryland companies with the opportunity to use new, cutting-edge technology designed to help them stand out in competitive markets. 

What is the Maryland Innovation Lab?

Each year, we work with our partners to identify startup or scaleup technology companies from around the world. We also identify Maryland companies that think they could benefit from a new innovation.  

We then match them up, with the goal being for each participating Maryland company to bring the global startup’s or scaleup’s innovative technology to life. The new “couples” work together for up to eight months, with strategic support from the hub partners to make that happen.


How it Started

The concept for the lab -- which is the first of its kind in the U.S. -- was first announced by the State of Maryland at the World Economic Forum in 2022. In April 2023, the project began, under the leadership of Maryland Governor Wes Moore. The lab is part of the state’s Global Gateway Program, which helps attract more international businesses and eases their transition into the U.S. market by connecting them with local incubators and accelerators.

The Maryland Department of Commerce helps fund the lab, as well as co-lead it with WTCI and a corporate innovation specialist called L Marks that has established operations in the United Kingdom and United States.


The Team

The lab is made possible through the generous support of the Maryland Department of Commerce. The department’s support is integral for building fruitful connections both in Maryland and abroad, ushering in a new era of cooperation and innovation in the Mid-Atlantic.

L Mark’s primary focus is identifying the startups/scaleups and helping them prepare their pitches to the Maryland companies. L Marks also uses its standardized process to manage the eight-month collaboration between the Maryland companies and startups/scaleups. 

WTCI’s main role is to leverage its network of 3,500+ innovative globally minded businesses to identify Maryland-based companies interested in participating in the lab, serve as a liaison between the companies and L Marks, and help create the strategy for each project that is part of the lab.

The First Cohort

The theme for the first cohort, to be announced this summer, will be sustainable food systems. Specifically, how can we improve food packaging, processing, logistics, supply chains, agriculture, and distribution? This theme was chosen because of the numerous challenges the global food system is experiencing. The hope is that those involved in the lab will help develop solutions to reducing food waste, making food supply chains more resilient, and more.


Want to learn more about this project? Want to be one of the Maryland companies chosen for the first cohort? Contact WTCI Senior Director of Programs and Series Kristin Lewis.

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