Are you an entrepreneur in need of a jump start?

The InvestMaryland Challenge is a national seed and early-stage business competition hosted by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development in partnership with Inc. Magazine. The Challenge will award $400,000 in grants and a host of business services to companies in the life sciences and high tech industries. Grants are provided by the Department's Maryland Venture Fund and the BioMaryland Center.

Companies also have the opportunity to receive direct investments from venture capital firms and angel investors.

Fewer than 25 employees
Annual revenue less than $1 Million
Duly-organized legal entity

The competition is for independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early-growth stages. The company must be a duly-organized legal entity and in good standing with the state in which they are legally registered. Sole proprietorships are not eligible. Existing Maryland ventures must have a principal place of business in Maryland. Non-Maryland ventures are expected to establish a place of business in the state either through acquired space or a state incubator. At least 51% of the grant money must be spent within the state. Entrants can only apply for one category. A non-refundable $100 application fee required. Subject to other requirements.

IT Hardware & Software

Businesses in industries including but not limited to cloud computing, data mining & analytics, forensic tools, geospatial, data management, social media & apps, cellular tools, and e-commerce (Open to Maryland companies only)..

Life Sciences

This category covers a broad range of products and services critical to the life science ecosystem including, but not limited to Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Diagnostics and Therapeutics (Open to Maryland companies only).


Businesses in industries that development products and services to protect computer and network systems from unauthorized access and attacks including but not limited to information security, data storage, backup and recovery. (Open to Maryland companies only)..