Business incubator still in need of management
Several proposals turned down so far
The timetable for a new business incubator venture in St. Mary’s County is behind schedule because a suitable management firm has yet to be identified.
A 6,000-square-foot building was constructed at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport in Hollywood in order to provide up to 12 small businesses and entrepreneurs space to further diversify the local economy.
St. Mary’s government put out a request for proposals for a management team to run the business incubator and three firms applied, but none of them ranked high enough to be considered, Chris Kaselemis, director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development, told a joint meeting of the county commissioners and Navy officials on Tuesday.
The Technology Transfer Office of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division provided $1.9 million in funding for the business incubator.
The building is complete, furnished and ready to go and is being leased from S. Hunt Aero for $90,000 for three years.
With no management team yet selected, St. Mary’s
government “is currently determining next steps,” Kaselemis wrote in a memo to the commissioners.
The request for proposals includes $1.3 million for a threeyear contract. “The county received several proposals; however none of the proposals scored high enough to be awarded the contract,” Kaselemis wrote.
The proposals that came in were from companies that were service- oriented business approaches, Commissioner Tom
Jarboe (R) said on Tuesday.
“That’s not what we were looking for at all,” he said.
The commissioners are looking for innovation and product design firms and aren’t necessarily looking for local compa-
nies either, he said.
“We’re taking a new approach,” he said, levering the resources of the University of Maryland system, which has a campus near the airport.
The assets around the airport include the University of Maryland Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Site, the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center, PaxSpace and several private sector firms “that specialize in technology driven aviation modification work, such as AirTec and ASEC,”
A new $80 million University of Maryland research building is coming to the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center as well, Kaselemis said, which will focus on unmanned autonomous research, testing, evaluation and education. Construction is planned for this fiscal year.
“There is a lot of work that goes on out at St. Mary’s airport that people don’t know about,” Jarboe said, including work on aircraft from South
He said the commissioners are taking their time to open up the business incubator.
“The incubator building is finished and once a selection is made regarding a management team, an agreement will be presented to the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County for approval,” Kaselemis wrote.
In September of last year, the commissioners expected the business incubator to be open this past spring.