In recent years there has been a surge of interest in biotech entrepreneurship, with many scientists wanting to take their innovative ideas and develop them into new products and technologies. And what better place to start a business than the up-and-coming BioHealth Capital Region! Entrepreneurship comes with many challenges, though, especially for scientists who are just beginning to dip their toes into the world of business. How do you secure capital? How do you effectively manage your employees? What kind of legal terms and conditions must a biotech business follow, and how do you even get started learning all of this material? What the heck is an “angel investor”, anyways? As somebody with a PhD in molecular biology myself, the thought of starting a business terrifies me. I might be a wizard when it comes to pipetting, but I barely know anything about navigating the business realm!
That’s where Janice Riley and the Hagerstown Community College Technology Innovation Center (HCC TIC) comes in! TIC is considered to be Western Maryland’s largest technology-based business incubator and the main conduit for connecting up-and-coming biotech companies in Western Maryland with local experts in the BioHealth Capital Region, including Saul Ewing, SCORE and TEDCO’s RBI2 program which provides technical and business assistance to small companies and early stage technology-based companies in rural Maryland. A few of the exciting biotech startups coming out of TIC include Scaled MicroBiome and Protein RST.
The TIC is also home to InnovaBio-MD, a contract research organization run by Hagerstown Community College to create flexible industry-based research internship opportunities available to both college and high school students. InnovaBio-MD contracts projects from regional biotechnology agencies and interns conduct the work right there at the labs at TIC. This program represents the first partner community college to replicate Salt Lake Community College’s widely successful InnovaBio Program.
Janice Riley currently serves as Manager for TIC and has been with HCC for almost 5 years. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Shippenburg University and possesses vast expertise in strategic consulting. I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat with Janice about her career path, her time with TIC, and her passion for community (and international!) outreach and service.