In 2015, Motobriiz LLC owner Mike Steele attended a Southern Maryland Innovation and Technology (SMIT) meetup, where attendees interact with other innovators, showcase promising ventures, and learn about principles and methods to accelerate market success. At the event, Steele met Angela Singleton, now a deal team member and portfolio manager at TEDCO, which supports technology startups based in the state of Maryland. Steele and Singleton discussed Steele’s plans for expanding the consumer base for Motobriiz, which manufactures wind-powered automatic chain oilers for motorcycles. At the time, Motobriiz was selling primarily to individuals (B2C), but Steele hoped to expand the business to B2B customers and wholesale accounts.
After connecting with Singleton, Steele worked with TEDCO to assess various market opportunities and market penetration strategies.
“Utilizing a vast network of relationships between research universities, federal laboratories, entrepreneurs, and investors, TEDCO offers unparalleled access to key members of Maryland’s entrepreneurial community,” explains Tiffany Davis, a program mentor at TEDCO.
TEDCO’s insight helps business owners, like Mike Steele, determine the industry climate, discover new market opportunities, and expand their customer base.
“TEDCO can recommend courses, provide insights into the local community, and really get to the core of your business needs,” Steele explains.
In addition to market research, TEDCO, which is funded by the state of Maryland, offers mentoring, funding, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs, startups, and early stage companies for the accelerated success of an innovation economy in Maryland and beyond.
“Entrepreneurs and startups can use TEDCO to help manage their funding and accomplish the objectives necessary to obtain additional investment,” says Davis. “TEDCO also provides direct funding in the early stages of entrepreneurial activity – when an innovative idea is being developed – to help demonstrate marketable value.”
After receiving guidance from TEDCO on how best to approach and sell to B2B clients, Motobriiz now works directly with motorcycle dealers, motorcycle rental agencies, and is currently working with another established manufacturer of motorcycle accessories to distribute its product.
“There are a huge number of resources available – at local, state and federal levels – to help small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive in Southern Maryland,” explains Steele. “TEDCO is a great example, providing a range of services that are free or low-cost.”
With this success, TEDCO is now assisting Motobriiz to apply for a Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII) grant that will be used to develop the marketing strategy for its new “Air Zapper Brake Bleeder” product. TEDCO’s RBII program also provides technical and business assistance to small companies and early-stage technology-based companies in rural Maryland, helping them overcome business and technical hurdles to advance to the next growth level.
“Local entrepreneurs should get out there and start meeting people at the networking events offered by TEDCO,” Steele says. “Even if you don’t make the right connection at your first networking event, the representatives can and will refer you to the right person for your business.”
Interested in learning more about TEDCO? Join us at IGNITE Charles County Business Resource Fair on May 12, where TEDCO representatives will be available to answer any questions about its services.
IGNITE Charles County, which is co-sponsored by the Charles County Economic Development Department and Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute at CSM, brings local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs together to learn more about the resources that are available to ignite their success. To learn more about the services offered by the EDD for new businesses, entrepreneurs, and local minority businesses, please visit our Business Support page.