- Global Engagement
- About Us
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.
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.
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.
Corporate participants want to connect with startups who are solving problems in the following categories:
Solutions that track and commercialize carbon offsets, address greenwashing, educate on sustainable practices, and foster a resilient local food ecosystem.
Solutions for tracking and understanding consumer behavior, optimizing retail and product experiences, and enhancing brand experiences.
Systems that optimize supply chains, promote transparency and traceability, and encourage sustainable shipping and distribution.
Innovations that leverage workforce insights, improve employee experience, and harness skilled labor.
An open call for transformative solutions in any area that can revolutionize the Maryland food sector.
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.
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.
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.
"Maryland’s reputation as a hub for global business is about to get even stronger. The lab will match up great minds so that the state’s business sector can drive economic growth and global good at a pace and scale never seen before. WTCI’s network of 3,500+ globally minded businesses from the Mid Atlantic will be invaluable in ensuring this happens.”
"Here at Pompeian, we pride ourselves on our innovation practices. We see it as an essential part of our growth as a company. We look forward to collaborating with the international startups on developing solutions to make our product packaging more sustainable, launch new products, and make food supply chains more resilient."
"When talented people come together to solve big problems, great things can happen. The Maryland Innovation Lab will help us address pressing challenges by connecting companies in our state with companies around the world willing to share their expertise. L Marks and the World Trade Center Institute know the power of partnership, and their contributions to this initiative will keep Maryland's economy competitive and drive investment in our communities."
"We are excited to work with L Marks and the World Trade Center Institute to kick off the new Maryland Innovation Lab. Through this partnership, we will be able to support Maryland’s strategic industries and drive innovative solutions for our companies while also attracting new foreign investment to the state.”
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 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.