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October 26, 2007

UMBC’s ‘ACTiVATE’ Program to Receive National Award, TEDCO Funding

Program Trains Female Entrepreneurs to Take Maryland Universities’ Technologies to Market

CONTACT: Chip Rose, UMBC News

ACTiVATE, an innovative program based at UMBC that trains female entrepreneurs to take technologies developed by Maryland universities to market, will receive a national honor and an investment from the state today.

The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) will award its 2007 Innovation Award to ACTiVATE today at the AURP’s national conference in St. Louis. Also today, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced a $50,000 grant to help ACTiVATE continue its mission.

“We are thrilled that UMBC and the ACTiVATE program was recognized by AURP with this year’s Innovation Award,” said Renée Winsky, president and executive director of TEDCO. “The program has proven to be instrumental in growing the number of women entrepreneurs commercializing groundbreaking research being developed in labs throughout the state and starting new businesses. In fact, we are so thrilled with the success of the program that TEDCO is providing a $50,000 grant award to UMBC to expand our continued support of the effort.”

“It is wonderful to have TEDCO support this effective technology entrepreneurship training program,” said Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of the UMBC Research Park Corporation. “ACTiVATE gives opportunities to women who are underrepresented as entrepreneurs while strengthening tech commercialization from Maryland’s research universities.

“AURP’s Innovation Award is a great honor for our program which we believe is well-deserved, since in the past three years, ACTiVATE has trained over 70 women who have formed 12 companies,” Hemmerly said.

Hemmerly is a past president of AURP and was instrumental in the establishment of ACTiVATE. She also recently received the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year award for her efforts to grow the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park, which includes a high-tech business incubator, accelerator, research park and other UMBC entrepreneurial ventures.

Originally funded with a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, ACTiVATE’s goal is to form start-up companies based on technologies developed at UMBC, the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, Towson University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and the University of Maryland College Park. In its first three years, ACTiVATE participants have evaluated 97 technologies from Maryland research institutions and formed 12 new companies.

ACTiVATE was recently cited by the National Science Foundation's 2007 Government Results and Accountability (GRPA) Performance Assessment Report. The annual report highlights best practices and programs from all fields of science and engineering supported by the NSF.

Companies started by recent ACTiVATE alumnae include: EncorePath, built on a unique rehab technology for stroke victims developed by University of Maryland, Baltimore physical therapists; Foligo Therapeutics, which has received significant funding as it focuses on new treatment therapies for ovarian cancer; and Traxion Therapeutics, a biotech firm developing new drugs for chronic pain.

EncorePath recently received $74,345 from TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer Fund (MTTF). EncorePath’s founder and president Kris Appel has won first prize in business plan competitions from the MIT Enterprise Forum of Washington-Baltimore and the Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI).

The ACTiVATE Program is recruiting for its next class beginning in February 2008. Women with substantial business or technical backgrounds interested in applying for the competitive entrepreneurship training program should visit for more information.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s (UMBC) ACTiVATE* is a year-long program to train women with significant technical or business experience to be entrepreneurs and to create start-up companies from inventions from Maryland research institutions and federal agencies. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and is supported by Constellation Energy, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston and Wachovia Bank. Admission to the program is competitive. For additional information about the ACTiVATE program, please see

*ACTiVATE – Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs

About Maryland TEDCO:
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), an independent entity, was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1998 to facilitate the creation of businesses and foster their growth in all regions of the State. TEDCO's role is to be Maryland's leading source of funding for seed capital and entrepreneurial business assistance for technology transfer and development programs. TEDCO connects emerging technology companies with federal laboratories, research universities, business incubators and specialized technical assistance. For the fourth consecutive year, TEDCO was recognized as the most active early/seed stage investor in the nation in the July 2007 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. For more information on TEDCO and its programs and resources, visit

Posted by crose at October 26, 2007 6:10 AM