Maryland Innovation Lab to focus on supply chain and logistics for second cohort

06/27/2024| Karen Glenn Hood

Maryland Innovation Lab to focus on supply chain and logistics for second cohort

06/27/2024 | Karen Glenn Hood

The Maryland Innovation Lab , a program that pairs global startups with Maryland-based companies to identify innovative solutions to challenges, will focus on supply chain and logistics for its second cohort. Launched in 2023, the Innovation Lab was created in partnership by the Maryland Department of Commerce, the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore, and U.K. corporate innovation specialist L Marks and is part of a larger state initiative called the Global Gateway Program, which is aimed at attracting foreign direct investment to Maryland.

A focus on supply chain and logistics will help Maryland companies in and around the Port of Baltimore identify critical solutions to their challenges in the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in March. With the Port now fully opened, many companies are focused on restoring their operations.

“This unique and forward-thinking program will connect the brightest minds in the supply chain and logistics sector to address the challenges ahead of us,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “We are excited to see the innovative new ideas this second round of the program will bring forth.”

“The Maryland Innovation Lab has become a proven model to support local industry leaders in harnessing global innovation talent and driving their businesses forward,” said L Marks CEO Daniel Saunders. “The importance of supply chain and logistics to the state of Maryland cannot be overstated. We are excited to leverage the Maryland Innovation Lab initiative and collaborate with a new round of industry partners and startups to address challenges in this sector and deliver value to the region.”

“We have seen firsthand, from both the pandemic and the collapse of the Key Bridge, the importance of solving supply chain and logistics challenges both locally and globally,” said World Trade Center Institute CEO Eddie Resende. “We have one of the top ports in the country right in our backyard, and we look forward to welcoming cutting-edge ideas from global startups to help our already top-notch supply chain and logistics providers take their offerings to the next level.”

The Innovation Lab recently wrapped up its first cohort, which focused on driving innovation in the food sector. More than 600 startups from around the globe were considered, and the industry partners – Sodexo, SIMPLi, and Pompeian – selected nine companies to participate in the bootcamp and Pitch Day held earlier this year at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business in Baltimore. Two startups – Portugal-based Assetfloow and U.K.-based Colateral – are currently working together with Pompeian and Sodexo in a 10-week collaborative innovation program to pilot, refine, and validate their solutions.

While innovation labs are not uncommon in the private sector, this is the first publicly funded lab in the United States; it is supported in part through Commerce’s Office of International Investment and Trade.

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