Maryland Launch Fund

The Maryland Launch Fund

Powered by the University System of Maryland

Welcome to the University System of Maryland (USM) Launch Fund – your premier gateway to early-stage support for building, creating, and innovating. We’re here to connect you with resources, mentorship, and capital, bridging critical gaps in your startup journey. Administered by the USM Office of Research and Economic Development, and collectively led by all USM institutions, our program proudly supports a diverse range of USM-affiliated ventures, both for-profit and non-profit.



The Maryland Launch Fund is tailored for students, employees, and ventures linked to USM institutions, including universities and regional higher education centers across Maryland.

Individuals (students and faculty) can receive microgrants through their institution.

Qualifying ventures can be founded by students, faculty, employees, or alumni, leveraging USM intellectual property, or physically located in a USM research park, incubator, or RISE Zone. Please note that participation in a program such as the USG Equity Incubator, the Towson StarTUp Accelerator, or the SU Shore Hatchery Competition does not provide eligibility. All ventures are required to have a substantial portion of their manufacturing, service, research and development, or office space located in Maryland.

You can explore the first round of exceptional microgrant and grant awardees here.



Our flexible early-stage capital, primarily in the form of non-dilutive grants, ranges from less than $2,000 to $50,000. This capital is designed to bridge foundational gaps, supporting you on your journey to the next steps.


How and When?

Microgrant funding (specifically for students and employees) varies by institution, so please check in with an institutional representative for the latest on those opportunities.

The last deadline for funding for ventures was Monday, May 6, 2024. There was an info session on Monday, March 4 at noon; see the materials here. We aim to communicate funding decisions to applicants no later than the end of June. To ensure you don’t miss out, the following groups are invited to register for future funding opportunities:

  • Students and employees who do not have a venture yet and are looking for less than $2,000
  • Employees who are looking for more then $2,000 in funding and do not have a venture yet


The USM Maryland Launch Fund is committed to breaking down barriers to early capital and resource access. We prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, emphasizing transparency and adding value to all participants. By dedicating up to $600,000 over three years to this pilot, USM believes that small amounts of capital, strategically deployed, can make a significant impact on Maryland’s economy while aligning with our mission to educate, advance equity, and produce impactful research. Join us in maximizing Maryland’s potential!

Please direct any questions to Lindsay Ryan at


The University System of Maryland comprises 12 public universities, three regional higher education centers, and more than 200,000 people—students, faculty, and staff—dedicated to pursuing knowledge, advancing discovery, improving lives, and strengthening communities across the state and around the world.