Stewardship—A Foundation for Innovative Leadership

At TEDCO, we embrace the core value of stewardship every day in each of our programs.  It is our responsibility and privilege to manage the scarce resources entrusted to us by our public and private partners. As a quasi-public instrumentality of the State of Maryland, TEDCO incorporates stewardship into our mission to serve the State’s entrepreneurs in an efficient, effective, and fiscally responsible manner. 

​TEDCO provides a public service to the State’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem by providing grants, investments, and wraparound services. Nothing is more fundamental to public service than the trust instilled by the citizens it serves. That trust is earned by the continuous and repeated demonstration of responsible stewardship of the public’s investment.    
 
More broadly, for TEDCO, stewardship means that we understand the impact of our resources and how we choose to deploy them. Our resources are deployed to maximize the benefit to Maryland entrepreneurs and to position Maryland for growth. Since its inception, TEDCO investments have led to the creation of over 7,800 direct jobs in Maryland. Under the Maryland Innovation Initiative alone, our portfolio companies have generated over $200 million in follow-on funding. TEDCO has made over 400 investments from our Seed Fund in Maryland start-ups. In total, TEDCO has generated over $1.6 billion in economic impact for the State.
 
However, having core values means that we cannot let successes lead to complacency. Good stewardship also means openness to stakeholder input. It means that we are caretakers of the relationships with our collaborators in the ecosystem. We use that stewardship to strengthen the dialogue with our partners to evolve our programs to be more responsive to the challenges in a modern economy. We build on that stewardship to cultivate a reputation for an unfailing dedication to our mission. 
 
When we demonstrate trustworthy, ethical, consistent, and responsive stewardship, we are afforded the confidence and the space to lead in new and pioneering ways. TEDCO is developing innovative approaches to entrepreneur development because of its proven track record of responsible and productive investment. This is increasingly vital as Maryland continues to address a new generation of rapidly changing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, biotechnology, clean energy, and blue technology, etc. This challenge is compounded by new realities of changing workplace dynamics and a long overdue reckoning with income and wealth disparities. 
 
TEDCO is embracing its leadership role by facing these challenges with new programming and re-energized partnerships. With the Department of Commerce and the University System of Maryland, TEDCO has launched the Maryland Entrepreneur Hub, an AI assisted portal that matches Maryland entrepreneurs with the best and most appropriate resources in the State. Under the Builder Fund, TEDCO has introduced its first Entrepreneur-in-Residence to guide early-stage companies that are owned by socially and economically disadvantaged founders to meet critical milestones toward growth. To address the economic impact of the pandemic, and with the partnership of the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly, TEDCO launched the Rural and Underserved Business Recovery from Impact of COVID-19 (RUBRIC) Grant Program and the Agriculture and Rural Rebuild (ARR) Challenge.  
 
The benefits of stewardship do not only lie in the accumulation of trust, but in the flexibility to find new methods to address modern challenges. TEDCO earns its freedom to innovate by embracing its role as a steward of a public mission. TEDCO will continue to use its stewardship to lead innovation to market.  

Jody Sprinkle is the Chief Government Relations and Policy Officer at TEDCO

Source: Leadership Maryland