Marlyand Innovation Lab

Corporate Innovation
Globally Accelerated

The Maryland Innovation Lab connects Maryland businesses with disruptive startups from around the world to solve their most pressing challenges. 

More Information Join the Lab

Maryland takes pride in being a hub for global business. Thousands of businesses with offices in Maryland touch the world somehow. 

The Maryland Innovation Lab makes the hub even stronger. How? By allowing Maryland companies to use new, cutting-edge technology designed to help them stand out in competitive markets. 

What is the Maryland Innovation Lab?

The Maryland Innovation Lab is based on a model developed by UK-based L Marks, where corporations are matched with global startups in a 10-month accelerator. The lab's goal is to help corporations bring in new talent and ideas to scale innovation without the in-house expertise needed to run an accelerator program. 

Food & Sustainability Cohort

The theme for the first cohort is 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 reduce food waste, make food supply chains more resilient, and more.

Accepting Startup Applications

Corporate participants want to connect with startups who are solving problems in the following categories:

Sustainability

Solutions that track and commercialize carbon offsets, address greenwashing, educate on sustainable practices, and foster a resilient local food ecosystem.

Retail and Product Optimization

Solutions for tracking and understanding consumer behavior, optimizing retail and product experiences, and enhancing brand experiences.

Supply Chain / Operations

Systems that optimize supply chains, promote transparency and traceability, and encourage sustainable shipping and distribution.

People & Workforce

Innovations that leverage workforce insights, improve employee experience, and harness skilled labor.

wildcard

Wildcard

An open call for transformative solutions in any area that can revolutionize the Maryland food sector.

How Does it Work?

WTCI recruits three to five companies from its Maryland network seeking to scale innovations in their organization. WTCI and L Marks work with these companies to identify key pain points and challenges. Through its global network of startups, L Marks solicits applications from startups seeking to partner with the participating companies to develop solutions to their challenges. At a pitch day, the companies choose from amongst the startups to enter into a 10-week guided accelerator program to develop the proposed solution with their new partners.

Maryland Innovation Lab Timeline

Phase One

15-20 global startups travel to Maryland to participate in an intensive Boot Camp with the corporate partners, culminating in a competitive Pitch Day, where startups pitch their solutions to the participating companies for the chance to form a lasting partnership.

Phase Two

The five winning startups proceed to a 10-week mentorship-driven accelerator that concludes with a celebratory Demo Day event, where startups and corporate partners announce their joint innovations and partnerships.

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How it Started

The concept for the lab - 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 and co-leads it with WTCI and a corporate innovation specialist called L Marks, which has established operations in the United Kingdom and the 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 Marks' 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.

Questions?

Want to learn more about this project? Want to be one of the Maryland companies chosen for the first cohort? Contact

Kristin Lewis

Kristin Lewis

VP of Innovation & Strategic Development

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