UMBC Watch

"UMBC’s ACTiVATE program will help develop the well-trained entrepreneurs Maryland needs to build on the strengths of our research universities.”

— President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III


National Science Foundation Taps UMBC to Connect Women with Technology Transfer


October 20, 2004 – A UMBC initiative to increase commercial applications of
technology by training women entrepreneurs has received a $600,000 grant for Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs (ACTiVATE) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant to UMBC, from NSF’s highly competitive Partnerships for Innovation program, is one of 16 awarded nationwide and the only award to a Maryland institution this year.

Although Maryland is a national leader in university research activity, the state ranks just 32nd nationally in university-related, start-up technology companies. The ACTiVATE program will expand the pool of experienced entrepreneurs by introducing 90 mid-career women to the basics of technology commercialization, with a goal of creating six or more new companies over three years. UMBC and Northwestern University are the only participating institutions to focus on training women as a means of increasing technology transfer, according to John C. Hurt, program director of Partnerships for Innovation.

“The UMBC ACTiVATE proposal put together all the pieces,” said Hurt. “UMBC’s experience in tech entrepreneurship, plan for efficient training tailored to the needs of women, and excellent partnerships led to a unanimous verdict.” UMBC will partner with the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and six other Maryland universities to identify appropriate technologies for the program. Regional businesses with technology and entrepreneurship expertise will provide trainers, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and mentors to work with program participants. Campus partners include UMBC’s Office of Technology Development, techcenter@UMBC, the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT). More information about the ACTiVATE program can be found at


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