In 2010, an industry-led task force created in Montgomery County partnered with members of regional academia, government and other nonprofits to create an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem that wasn’t being filled.
BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI), which was founded in 2012 by Richard Bendis in Rockville, Md., is designed to help bio-health companies grow, identify commercially relevant science, create new businesses and attract equity funding to the region. Bendis, who is also the president and CEO, has overseen the organization’s creation of unique programming for entrepreneurs at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.
BHI has started various accelerator programs and a funding program that aids small businesses in being more competitive in order to win federal grants. BHI also manages two innovation centers in Montgomery County with 48 growing companies, as well as its International Soft Landing program to help foreign bio-health companies land in Maryland.
The organization uses interns and post-doctorate researchers to supplement its staff, and provides career assistance to those it works with.
Bendis has created and run three nonprofit, innovation-based economic development organizations in three different states that have supported thousands of entrepreneurs, he runs his own angel fund, manages an electronic newsletter about innovation, and is developing a podcast called BioTalk that will interview leaders in the region.