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InvestMaryland program changes receive final approval

ANNAPOLIS — Critical changes would be made to Maryland’s signature venture capital program under legislation given final approval by the General Assembly on Monday.

The Senate agreed to concur with clarifying amendments the House of Delegates made to Senate Bill 70 and then passed the bill, 46-0.

The legislation relaxes restrictions and makes technical changes to the $84 million InvestMaryland venture capital program. The bill was requested by the state Department of Business and Economic Development after private venture capital firms balked at investing state money in early stage technology companies under current program rules.

While $25 million has been given to private investors, only $5 million of that money has been invested in Maryland companies. DBED officials said changes were necessary to break up that logjam.

InvestMaryland was Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature economic development initiative in 2011.