On Sept. 12, 2016, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business celebrated its partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce by hosting a discussion about "Maryland Open for Business" with Mike Gill, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, and Smith School Dean Alex Triantis. More than 100 students, faculty, staff, and local partners attended the event, which was sponsored by the school’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and Office of Global Initiatives (OGI).
Following an open house showcasing the international opportunities at the Smith School, Rebecca Bellinger, managing director of CIBER and OGI, kicked off the event, which was designed to celebrate the partnership between CIBER and the Maryland Department of Commerce. The partnership supports the department’s portfolio of initiatives designed to increase the capacity of Maryland businesses to export their goods and services abroad and provides Smith School students with opportunities to work on consulting projects for these companies. "This partnership with Secretary Gill and his team at the Department, specifically the Office of International Investment and Trade, under the leadership of Signe Pringle is the first of its kind for us and paramount to the work that the Center is doing in preparing both students and local companies to be successful in the global marketplace."
During his discussion with Dean Triantis, Secretary Gill praised the University of Maryland and stated, "We really have great assets in the state of Maryland, and the University of Maryland is one of them." He described the Department of Commerce's initiative to boost business development by creating a brand identity for the state of Maryland. When asked about increasing entrepreneurship in the state, the Secretary described the various initiatives to improve programs with schools, including the University of Maryland, to improve entrepreneurship: “There’s no school that’s done more for startups and entrepreneurship than right here.”
Signe Pringle also addressed the crowd to discuss the Office of International Investment and Trade’s initiatives to boost Maryland exports and increase trade. The programs include funding initiatives such as the ExportMD grant and access to a team of domestic and foreign representatives in 11 countries and in-house regional representatives who can provide research and advice on exporting and creating new partnerships and programs.
Following the event, Dean Triantis described the benefits of the new partnership: "Engaging Secretary Mike Gill on the growth of the Maryland economy and its ongoing potential domestically and internationally was an ideal opportunity to introduce Smith students and faculty to the priorities of the Maryland Department of Commerce. This event was an important and exciting step in our relationship with Commerce and the future of Smith School students contributing to the success of Maryland companies through consulting."