Economic Outlook Forum

For over twenty years, Regional Economics Studies Institute (RESI) has invited business leaders, politicians, notable speakers, and educators to provide thoughtful commentary and dialogue on the state of Maryland’s economy.

October 19, 2017

The 2017 Economic Outlook Forum focused on building, scaling, and sustaining a true entrepreneurship ecosystem in Maryland.

8:00–8:45 AM: Networking and Breakfast

8:45–9:00 AM: Welcome Remarks

  • Dr. Kim Schatzel, President, Towson University
  • Will Anderson, Executive Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development 

9:00–10:00 AM: 2017 Economic Outlook Presentation

  • Presented by Dr. Daraius Irani, Towson University 
  • Q&A led by Will Anderson, Executive Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development 

An in-depth look at the state of our economy. From proposed cuts to Maryland agencies and programs by the Trump administration to critical occupational shortages and a low unemployment rate, the forecast addresses how economic and political forces impact each of us. Dr. Irani's insight and commentary helps state and local agencies, businesses, and individuals in Greater Baltimore make more strategic economic decisions.

10:00–10:15 AM: Break

10:15–10:30 AM: Entrepreneurship in Maryland

  • R. Michael Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce

Maryland's economy is strong and continues to outperform our regional neighbors, as well as the country as a whole. Our state also continues to lead the way in education, preparing highly educated workers to meet labor demands. Secretary Gill will discuss how Maryland's strong economy and commitment to an educated workforce supports the growth of an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

10:30–11:45 AM: Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Forum

  • Moderator: Tom Sadowski
    Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, University System of Maryland
  • Frank Bonsal III  
    Director, Venture Creation, Towson University
  • Julie Lenzer
    Associate Vice President, Innovation and Economic Development, and Co-Director, UM Ventures, University of Maryland
  • Anthony Williams 
    Vice President and Senior Investment Officer, Meridian Management Company, Inc

From tax credits and grants to incubators and incentive zones, fostering entrepreneurship has become a core component of economic development across our state. This year's Economic Outlook Forum focuses on building, scaling, and sustaining a true entrepreneurship ecosystem in Maryland. Panelists from government, education, and private business sectors will discuss the challenges and solutions and seek to answer these questions:

  • What is the primary objective of fostering an entrepreneurship ecosystem?
  • How can we create an open, entrepreneurial culture that enables growth given our existing set of policies and systems?
  • How can various stakeholders, who often have divergent goals, set the context for success?
  • Can an equitable ecosystem be created given the socio-economic disparity that exists in Greater Baltimore?
  • What initiatives and support structures are currently available for entrepreneurs? What will be needed for sustainability?
  • What role does diversity—minority, veteran, or women owned businesses—play in building an ecosystem that works for all Marylanders?
  • Are there certain geographic areas that are better suited to catalyze economic development?