Tammi Thomas

DEI Article Photo

TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, continues to elevate and build on its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work with a series of new initiatives, including a DEI webpage, a TEDCO diversity rider and a company registration process. TEDCO is committed to ensuring its programs and funds are utilized by a broad array of under-represented innovators and entrepreneurs—while also providing an exceptional work environment and enhanced organizational results.

Elizabeth MazhariElizabeth Good Mazhari, who was named TEDCO’s DEI Advisor in December 2021, helped spearhead the new initiatives, working closely and collaborating with TEDCO team members.

“It was essential that TEDCO put strong DEI programs in place, as well as the right tools to track our progress and share our DEI commitment with Maryland startups and the public,” said Mazhari. “We’ve taken a major step in consolidating our materials on the DEI webpage, which includes both the new diversity rider and the company registration.”

TEDCO’s diversity rider, modeled after the version launched by Act One Ventures in 2020, is a call-to-action focused on increasing opportunities and access to venture capital wealth for under-represented communities. Firms adopting the rider language pledge to bring people from these communities into deals as co-investors, thus incorporating diversity into the deal-making process. TEDCO has committed to including the diversity rider into all of the deals it leads. 

As part of an updated company registration process, TEDCO will be collecting race and ethnicity data. The aggregate data will then be used in planning and prioritizing TEDCO’s new programs or making program modifications, with the goal of better serving stakeholders and ensuring TEDCO’s programs and policies fairly and equitably serve the needs of all diverse groups— and are in compliance with the requisite antidiscrimination laws, regulations, and policies.

Terry Rauh“Having systems in place that support diversity, equity and inclusion are key to creating a culture of belonging here at TEDCO, both internally and with our external partners,” said Terry Rauh, TEDCO’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). “The most effective and efficient way to elevate the many diverse businesses we fund, and support is to collaborate across offices, utilizing data and team member expertise—these DEI initiatives are good for startups, our organization and the state of Maryland.” 

TEDCO was also one of the first organizations to sign the Maryland Tech Council’s DEI pledge, which is a public commitment to DEI and in keeping with TEDCO’s core value of accountability.

The many benefits of a strong DEI commitment are clear: diverse and inclusive teams are shown to make better decisions 87% of the time, are 70% more likely to capture new markets, and are 76% more likely to see ideas become productized, according to Korn Ferry.

Troy LeMaile-Stovall“We’re always striving to enhance our efforts around our core values, and this DEI initiative is an excellent example of that,” said TEDCO CEO Troy LeMaile-Stovall. “We want to make sure we’re more aware of the impact we have on the state’s startup community, especially for the under-represented, and this is just one step in the process of getting us there.” 

Tammi Thomas is the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at TEDCO.