Since 1992, the MIDC has had an essential role in the economic development of Maryland, providing Israeli companies opportunities to expand into Maryland and US markets. MIDC’s mission over the past 30 years has been building and creating entrepreneurial bridges and is at the forefront of developing international business relationships and partnerships.
- The MIDC has organized trade missions to Israel for all of Maryland’s governors since the Maryland/Israel Declaration of Cooperation was signed in 1988, including Governors William Donald Schaefer (1989), Parris Glendening (1997), Robert Ehrlich (2004), Martin O’Malley (2008 and 2014) and Larry Hogan (2016), as well as Lt. Governor Michael Steele (2005), Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett (2007) and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford (2020).
- Maryland is home to 30 Israeli companies, up from six when the MIDC was founded in 1992, including ELTA North America, a major Israeli defense company which makes the radar for the Iron Dome anti-missile system; Nayax, a cashless payment and management solution for retailers; Medispec, developers of medical devices based on shockwave technology; and RADA, a defense electronics company specializing in the production and sales of all-threat, air surveillance combat radars.
- The MIDC created a venture capital fund to invest in Israeli high-tech startup companies. In partnership with The Trendlines Group of Israel, it created the Maryland/Israel Trendlines Fund, a $4.2 million fund that invested in 12 Israeli companies.
- The MIDC is the Maryland representative for the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, a program of Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Trade and the U.S. Department of Commerce that funds joint research between American and Israeli companies. Maryland companies that have received BIRD grants include 2020 Gene Systems, Ariadne Genomics, Brimrose Corporation, Direct Dimensions, KeyGene and Patriot Technologies. and in addition, the University of Maryland and Bar Ilan University in Israel were awarded an $18.4 million, five-year grant to promote energy security and economic development through the research and development of innovative energy storage technologies.
- The MIDC pioneered the entrepreneurial development program MarketReach America™ for Israel’s emerging high-tech companies for which it was awarded over $300,000 in grants from the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation. Subsequently, in 2019, the MIDC organized MarketReach America to educate Israeli entrepreneurs on The Lean Startup entrepreneurial development program, used by the National Science Foundation to train American scientists to start companies and commercialize their technology. Partnering with the Israel Innovation Authority, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Abell Foundation and the Maryland Department of Commerce, 16 Israeli medical technology and digital health entrepreneurs went through the training in Israel; 10 came for the two week “customer discovery” trip to Baltimore. Two of the participants, GaitBetter and TikTalk, were judged as best-in-class and were awarded one-year free office space in the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark Incubator. and hired Maryland-based executives to start operations here.
- The MIDC created economic development programs for Baltimore’s Israeli sister cities. In Ashkelon, the MIDC launched a small business loan fund totaling over $1.2 million; over 100 loans have been made to Ashkelon-based small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. In Karmiel, the MIDC and The Associated invested in the community’s high tech business incubator. In Kiryat Gat, the MIDC helped create the town’s first business incubator.
- During the pandemic, the MIDC started two webinar series which cumulatively attracted over 2,500 participants. Business Survival Strategies targeted Israeli entrepreneurs with techniques to help them survive the shutdown and prepare for post-pandemic business life, while the Israel Technology Series covered a broad range of topics including Israeli Covid vaccine development and tracing and testing technologies, the current state of venture capital investing, a cybersecurity forum cosponsored by the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland and the Embassy of Israel, the benefit of the Abraham Peace Accords on business featuring U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Israeli and UAE investors, and several sessions on emerging industries in Israel such as artificial intelligence, 5-G and quantum computing.
- The MIDC has helped forge strong linkages between both communities’ research institutions. The University of Maryland, Baltimore signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate with Hadassah Hospital, Hebrew University and the Surgeon General of the Israel Defense Forces in the critical area of emergency medicine. The University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) both instituted partnerships with Tel Aviv University for faculty and student exchanges. The MIDC helped to develop a partnership between the University of Maryland Center on Marine Biotechnology, Israel Oceanographic Institute and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture to create a $1.2 million marine biotechnology research program in aquaculture. The MIDC was instrumental in assisting with the expansion of Orgenesis’ cell therapy manufacturing facility at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Orgenesis is a biotech company with origins in Israel. The MIDC also assisted LifeBridge Health to establish its Israel Contact Center, based in Jerusalem, to provide a strong complement to the teams working here in Maryland.