Baltimore sits in the greatest innovation gold mine in the world. The National Capital Region headquartered by the Federal government now stretches far to the north of Baltimore and as far south as Tidewater, Virginia, with Baltimore being the second largest and Tidewater the third largest Federal government employment centers in the nation, after Washington DC. Over $150 billion has been spent in Maryland, DC and Virginia by the Federal government on research just this decade, averaging $18.5 billion per year, more than the entire state of California, which has 2.6 times our aggregate population. Our region has more scientist and engineers than any other US region. With all this talent and research money in our universities and Fed labs, probably more than any other location in the world, this region ranks 37th in converting that research to new innovation-based businesses and jobs, while California ranks no.1. What’s the problem?
The extended National Capital Region needs to organize itself to win. If the Federal labs and agencies, major research universities, state and local governments, private entrepreneurs, companies and investors start working together, this region could become the Silicon Valley of the East. In a decade we could lead the world in life sciences, security and energy. Our young entrepreneurs and scientists need to stay in this region to start their businesses. Our investors need to look right in their own backyard.
Maryland Governor O’Malley, Virginia Governor Kaine and DC Mayor Fenty have joined forces with their Congressional delegations, the Federal government and their seven major research universities (Johns Hopkins, UMD, GW, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, George Mason and University of Virginia) as well as major companies and business leaders to unite the extended National Capital Region to win the global innovation battle. Called The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, named for the defining landmark uniting our region, The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative is dedicated to making our region no. 1 in life sciences, security and energy innovation businesses in a decade. George Vradenburg and myself, Herb Miller, joined forces to form and manage this bi-partisan team to ignite the opportunities for new innovation businesses in Maryland, DC and Virginia. We are dedicated to unlocking the billions of dollars in “shovel ready” innovation businesses and jobs now that the region is united to win.