Jake Shindel//June 13, 2022
//June 13, 2022
A new report has found that Maryland has had the highest tech workforce growth since May 2021 and is tied for the lowest gender gap in technology jobs.
The report from the Technology Councils of North America was greeted with enthusiasm by Baltimore and Maryland civic and business leaders who are seeking to ramp up development in the tech industry, an effort made difficult by the fact that some 20,000 technology jobs in the area are open.
Still, leaders in the region say, the report is evidence that companies are beginning to realize the potential of Baltimore and are willing to move their businesses to the area.
“Baltimore has an incredible opportunity to be a huge tech center,” said Baltimore Regional Tech Council chair Ed Mullin. “It’s never going to be Silicon Valley, it’s not that kind of tech. It’s the federal government, the medical community, and education technologies.”
This is one of the reasons that Maryland, and Baltimore specifically, have seen growth in the tech sector in the last year. UpSurge Baltimore CEO Jamie McDonald mentioned Baltimore’s location as a desirable place to take a tech company.
“Baltimore is really the last affordable city in the Northeast corridor, we have an amazing face of assets for tech companies,” said McDonald. “I think you can build an amazing, thriving, diverse tech economy, and you can make it accessible for Baltimoreans who want to work in the tech economy.”
Techstars Baltimore is an accelerator program that helps young businesses grow. Some companies that went through the accelerator program and were stationed outside of Baltimore have decided to relocate to the city, officials said.
In the first accelerator program, called Techstars Equitech, which UpSurge Baltimore helped finance, there were 11 companies that took part. Nine of those companies initially were not based in Baltimore, but five of them either announced that they were moving to Baltimore or that they were going to use the city as an operations hub, according to McDonald.
In the second program, four out of the 10 companies that went through are trying to make the move to Baltimore.
“We’re trying to build more national accelerators as a company attraction strategy, and as a pathway of opportunity for earlier-stage companies that graduate from our many amazing, earlier-stage accelerators and incubators that are here,” McDonald said. “It has multiple purposes as we build out that program.”
The TECNA report also said that Maryland is tied with Georgia for the lowest gender gap in tech jobs, a trend McDonald thinks will continue.
“I think it was a really great stat to see,” said McDonald. “I don’t see any reason that it wouldn’t continue. I think that when I look at the companies in Baltimore, we’re approaching 400 startups right now. I think our base of both women-led companies and companies with diverse founders is compelling, and growing fast.”
In the next five or 10 years, McDonald said, she has big hopes for Baltimore’s companies and constituents.
“Our aspiration is that Baltimore is considered among the leading tech hubs in the country, and the first Equitech city,” McDonald said. “The first city that is authentically demonstrating that you can build an inclusive tech economy. “We want more Baltimoreans to have the skills and the awareness and the opportunity to take advantage of the great tech jobs that will hopefully exist in Baltimore.”g