March 12, 2018
What is it worth to the state of Maryland to get access to a small slice of the Startup Nation? About about $185 million per year, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce’s recent economic impact study, conducted on behalf of the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC). MIDC has promoted bilateral trade and investment for the past 25 years; in 2017, Maryland invested $275,000 in the MIDC program and received a more than 671 percent return on that investment.
MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage has been with Center since the inception of this public-private partnership between Maryland’s Department of Commerce, Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore through its ups and its downs.
“In the early 90s, the internet was just getting started. And quickly thereafter, Israel put itself on the map with all kinds of internet technologies,” Bogage recalled. “It was one of the first trends that we tried to latch onto.” MIDC helped orchestrate an initial partnership between Israeli inventors and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s fiber optics department in 1992. MIDC also spearheaded a collaboration between an Israeli high-tech fish farming company and the Christopher Columbus Center of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The Israeli company was ultimately acquired by a Columbia, Maryland-based company.
Medispec Ltd., the first Israeli medical device company to come to Maryland, celebrated its 25th anniversary in the U.S. in October. One reason the company chose Maryland was because it was “an interesting corridor” with a lot of life science activity among government, academic, and private sector institutions,” according to Anil Dhingra, Medispec’s vice president and chief operating officer (COO). “This makes it easy to conduct research for clinical trials that are needed to get our devices approved by the [Food and Drug Administration] FDA. It is also easy to find an educated workforce that is well-versed with the life science industry.”
MIDC helped Medispec get started in Maryland, assisting them with securing office space, hiring accountants and insurance providers, and introducing staff to county officials. Today, Medispec has FDA approval on several of its devices.