Maryland Tech Council’s Business Continuity Task Force Helps Companies Excel in Uncertain Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented no shortage of challenges for Maryland businesses from managing a remote workforce to accessing volatile capital markets. The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) believes local companies can turn these challenges into long-term opportunities.

Just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTC recognized the emerging threats to Maryland businesses by launching its Business Continuity Task Force in May 2020. The Task Force, which features prominent industry life science and tech veterans from the region, is a valuable, free business advisory resource to help Maryland life science and technology executives and entrepreneurs prepare their businesses for a rapidly changing economic landscape.

Many businesses don’t have an executable business continuity plan because of limited human capital, tight resources, or a lack of the tools needed to do so. These challenges are particularly formidable for startups and emerging life science and technology companies that are bootstrapping operations. 

A recent survey, Mercer’s Business Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, found that 51% of the 300 global businesses surveyed did not have a business continuity plan or were still in the process of developing one. Business continuity plans can include contingency plans for all business functions from operations and finance to information technology and work-from-home policies.  

MTC’s Business Continuity Task Force has stepped in to assist Maryland tech and life science businesses to navigate times of uncertainty like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Early during the pandemic, we saw that companies were beginning to face challenges. Some had supply chain issues. Some could see future pipeline issues, and some faced significant financial resilience challenges. Many of the executive mentors in our Venture Mentoring Service have led or guided companies through similar challenges and were more than willing to help support our industries. So, in the spirit of ‘Better Together’, we assembled a group of highly experienced mentors and began reaching out to businesses,” stated Marty Rosendale, the CEO of the MTC.

“Financial resilience and business continuity planning are always important. This public health emergency is just one event. There will be others,” he added.

The Task Force is composed of deeply experienced tech and life science leaders from a cross-section of companies and is aligned with the principles of the MTC Venture Mentoring Services (MTC VMS) program, one of Maryland’s leading team mentoring service programs for cyber and life science startups. 

Participating in the Task Force provides direct, one-on-one access to experienced, knowledgeable, and collaborative advisors poised to share best practices and insights gleaned from long, successful careers. Task Force advisors include:   

Once a member, executives are paired with an advisor to talk through challenges and obtain valuable referrals that can help improve their company’s finance, operations, technology, and engineering operations. Members and advisors are matched by company needs, engagements are flexible, and participants receive access to a peer network group.

Top executives in the region have already joined and are reaping the benefits. 

“With the constant growth, I have found the need for advice in areas I have not been trained in. MTC’s entrepreneur mentors have provided valuable and honest feedback and direction. In just three months, I have been able to focus on critical areas and implement tools recommended by the team of mentors,” said Cyrus Etemad-Moghadam, President and Founder of Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing Technologies, LLC (RPM Tech).

Bill Enright, the CEO of Vaccitech and a Task Force advisor, stated, “The Maryland Tech Council is working to try and ensure we continue to have a thriving small business community now and on the other side of this Covid-19 pandemic. The Business Continuity Task Force is a great way to bring seasoned executives who have faced difficult challenges in the past, together with executives that may need some assistance, guidance, or insight as they struggle to keep companies afloat during these difficult times.”

“The executives who thrive in exceptional times like this are the ones who draw on experienced and practical counsel from leaders who have traveled on the same road. That’s what the Business Continuity Task Force provides. Looking back on my own career, I was a better decision-maker and more effective team leader because of the counsel I received from tested leaders around me, particularly during the 2008 financial crisis,” stated Neil Davis, former Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, TEDCO.

“When you draw on this kind of support good outcomes follow, whether it’s improved decision-making for the executive or healthier bottom lines for his or her company. The Business Continuity Task Force is an opportunity to reimagine your company’s future, get very customized advice from leaders you can trust, and to do so at no cost,” he added.

Davis, Enright, Rosendale, and the other Task Force advisors can help tech and life science companies overcome immediate pandemic challenges like remote customer engagement, navigating a dynamically changing environment, and workforce challenges, while also helping these companies build better business resiliency plans for the future.

The entire advisory program is free for Maryland life science and tech entrepreneurs and executives with one to under 250 employees.