03 Mar The Next Start-Up Hotspot is ….. Frederick, MD?
Perhaps it could be. This post from Julia Ferguson of CoWork Frederick points out many of the advantages of Frederick, MD:
The growing city with the perfect combination of historic charm, hip restaurants and shops, excellent public schools, and a burgeoning art scene, surrounded by picturesque farmland. It’s got just enough “city” for many while offering easy and quick access to outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and kayaking. It’s also located close enough to two large cities, Baltimore and Washington DC, with lots of jobs, but many find trying to merge small town community with big city opportunities to be less than ideal.
There’s growing thinking that Frederick should (and can) stand on its own as a hub for incubating innovative new companies. According to Richard Griffin, Director or Frederick Department of Economic Development, more than 97 percent of Frederick’s businesses are small, entrepreneurial shops and Frederick’s Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) has helped incubate over 200 companies, largely operating in or around the biotechnology industry.
Information Technology companies have also taken root in Frederick. Yakabod, a software product and services company launched in 2001, provides secure knowledge sharing solutions. Swift Systems specializes in expert managed IT support services for Frederick, MD businesses. Axis 80 Interactive, a full-service web development agency serving corporate clients in a variety of industries was originally launched in Hagerstown but moved to Frederick. Clickseed, launched in 2013, provides Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and advanced digital marketing services.
At this moment Frederick may not have reached that “critical mass” necessary to truly explode on the scene, the seeds are being nurtured. Formal spaces like CoWork Frederick, the Business Factory of Frederick, FITCI, and informal groups such as the Frederick Startup Community Meet-Up group and the first ever Frederick Tech Breakfast coming in March25 are all steps in the right direction. The county is well-supplied with knowledge workers primed for expansion. The large community of knowledge workers who commute to Washington, DC, Montgomery County Maryland, Columbia, MD and Baltimore would no doubt jump at the chance to live and work in the same community. Adding to this fertile employee pool is the presence of a multitude of biotechnology operations, the largest of which is MedImmune and the influx of workers attendant to the recent expansion of the National Cancer Institutes in Frederick, along with its associated contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The Frederick County government is pushing even more development with the Jefferson Technology Park aimed at developing even more technology jobs in the area.