On March 29th, a ceremonial ribbon was cut to mark the official grand opening of Frederick's new business and innovation center: ROOT.
ROOT is a public/private partnership that brings local business resources together in one central location -- under one Downtown roof.
Below we take a tour of this new space and meet the tenants that will be launching new entrepreneurs, connecting top talent to the workforce, advocating for existing companies, and ensuring Frederick's economy continues to thrive.
ROOT's first floor is occupied by the building's most recent tenant: the newly created second location for the Frederick Innovation Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) FITCI is Frederick's first and only business incubator and one of about 1,400 across the United States. By providing entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to create a solid foundation, incubators work to drastically reduce the risk in small business start-ups.
FITCI's original County-based location focuses primarily on the support of Biotechnology companies, offering wet labs, office areas, and a Common Lab. This new Downtown branch caters to high-tech professionals. The first floor of ROOT features flexible work spaces, sleek conference rooms, access to fiber internet, and close proximity to urban amenities.
One stop up the elevator takes you to the offices for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, CREST Frederick | Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology, and Hood College's Martha E. Church Center for Civic Engagement.
The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce is the first chartered Chamber of Commerce in the United States. The long-standing association works to connect businesses and community through leadership, advocacy, and education. Chamber events and programs include: frequent card exchanges, ribbon cuttings, the Frederick Business Expo, the Entrepreneur Council, Generation Connect, educational seminars, the Frederick Non-Profit Alliance, and Leadership Frederick.
CREST Frederick's primary aim is to help foster STEM-based industries in Frederick. CREST Frederick works to strengthen employee pipelines by fostering collaborations between industries, universities, and USG labs.
Hood College Martha E. Church Center for Civic Engagement supports and promotes internship and research opportunities for Hood faculty and students with a goal of better meeting the educational and workforce needs of the local community.
ROOT's top floor hosts the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED).
The OED is the County-wide counterpart to the City's Department of Economic Development. The Office of Economic Development partners to provide local businesses with tools such as site selection assistance, redevelopment services, incentives, and data, while serving as an ombudsman for the business community.
Additionally, on this third floor, representatives from the following organization hold rotating office hours:
Small Business Development Center - a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland, College Park that works to provides free & low-cost business development services throughout the State of Maryland. The local SBDC branch hosts frequent training courses, as well as one-on-one business plan counseling.
Maryland Women's Business Center - a non-profit organization that works to help start, sustain, and grow women-owned enterprises through training, one-on-one counseling, and access to a variety resources
Maryland Tech Council - a technology-focused trade association that advocates for, supports, and connects the industry across the State.