Frederick, Maryland - a city typically recognized for its strong ties to a rich and picturesque past - interestingly has also now become a hub for companies focused on the future.
In recent years, the City's unique combination of socio-economic characteristics has caught the attention of technology professionals and attracted a diverse community of telecommunications, web design & marketing, software development, bio-tech, and cyber security companies to locate within the City.
Here's a quick look at just ten of the driving factors behind this movement --
1. Strategic Location
Frederick is the Northern anchor of the I-270 Technology Corridor. The city is located within an hour of two major metropolitan cities: Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD.
Three major airports are located within an hour of Frederick: Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Ronald Regan National and Dulles International. Locally, Frederick Municipal Airport provides business and corporate air service and is the preferred executive airport in the National Capital Region.
2. A Business Friendly City
Although not specific to the industry, local Tech companies are also enjoying the benefits of the City of Frederick's commitment to efficient, transparent procedures and personalized permitting assistance throughout the business process. The City's Department of Economic Development is specifically available to all prospective and current business owners to help them navigate development and promote their successes.
3. Elimination of Business Personal Property Tax
In 2015, the City of Frederick adopted a 10-year phase-out of the business personal property tax. Currently, Tech-related personal business property is automatically 70% exempt. Exemptions will increase each year until 2025 when the business personal property tax is no longer assessed.
4. Tech Frederick
Tech Frederick was formed to support, develop, and advocate for Frederick’s growing high-tech businesses. The organization provides human resource development, entrepreneurship training programs and seminars, and unique networking opportunities across the technology field. Open to all individuals in the IT industry, Tech Frederick is primarily a peer group intended to bring area experts together and create a united community.
5. Grow Program
The City of Frederick offers a Micro-Grant Program to start-ups and small businesses in targeted industries, including advanced and information technology. This investment-matching grant allows a lowered cost of start-up or expansion costs -- improving building capacity (and increasing employment opportunities within Frederick.)
6. High-Tech Incubator
Start-up ventures are already anticipating the benefits of Frederick's new downtown incubator/accelerator to be opened later this year at 118 N. Market Street and operated by FITCI. A partnership of government and business organizations, the tech-focused incubator will provide flexible, collaborative work space to entrepreneurs and offer access to resources needed to grow creative concepts into viable businesses.
7. Fort Detrick
Frederick is home to Fort Detrick – a major United States Army Medical Command installation. Accordingly, many local companies are able to capitalize on opportunities for federal contracting and technology transfer. Extensive local and statewide support networks strengthen local businesses as they compete in this global market.
8. Strong LOcal Education System
Nearly 40% of Frederick's workforce holds a bachelor's degree or higher. Much of this impressive workforce talent can be credited to local resources. For the past decade, Maryland has ranked among America’s top states for public education. Frederick County is also home to three higher education institutions – Frederick Community College, Hood College, and Mount Saint Mary’s University – which host approximately 20,000 scholars annually.
9. Quality of Life
When attracting and retaining talent, tech companies in Frederick benefit immensely from the desirable local quality of life. In addition to readily-available & quality education and health resources, Frederick boasts a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. With programming sponsored by Celebrate Frederick, Downtown Frederick Partnership, Visit Frederick, and the Frederick Arts Council, Frederick makes frequent use of it many public venues including the Weinberg Theater, Baker Park Bandshell, the Carroll Creek Amphitheater, and SkyStage. Frederick's downtown district has long been a haven for foodies- with a wide-range of award-winning, independent restaurants. In recent years, prompted by the success of Frederick-based Flying Dog Brewery, the local craft beverage community has gained national recognition. The City is home to the Frederick Keys minor league baseball team, has over 70 beautiful parks, and offers easy access to regional outdoor destinations - such as the Appalachian Trail and the Potomac River.
10. Unique Historic Setting
More than twenty of Frederick's technology companies have chosen to locate in the Historic Downtown. Companies within this district are given the opportunity to apply for a facade grant offered through City partners to re-energize existing buildings. In addition to providing easy access to local amenities, these beautifully renovated spaces create a unique office environment conducive to the creative nature of technology related work.