Maryland Lawmakers Steer $4 Million To Bowie State University’s Innovation Center And Research

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Bowie State University will receive $4 million in funding from Congress for its innovation center and for the development of a new laboratory for hydroponics research.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Monday touted their ability to secure $3 million for the Bowie Business Innovation Center (BIC) and $1 million for the university to spend on the Bowie State University Laboratory for Hydroponics Research.

Cardin is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and Van Hollen is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee U.S. Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee.

Bowie State University is the oldest Historically Black College and University in Maryland. 

The senators heard from graduates of Bowie BIC’s 8(a) Accelerator Program, who informed the senators about their experience navigating the federal contracting process, according to congressional staff.

“The new $3 million direct federal funding award to establish the Bowie BIC Center of Excellence for 8(a) Government Contracting at Bowie State University is a historic development,” Bowie BIC Executive Director Lisa Smith said.

The funding will allow for the expansion of the 8(a) Accelerator Program through the Center of Excellence, she said. 

It will become a new resource for HBCUs “by helping socially and economically disadvantaged companies” participate in the U.S Small Business Administration 8(a) Program.

This will assist them with winning “government contracts that build wealth for contractors and bring jobs to their communities,” Smith said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that our nation’s HBCUs are perfectly situated to help connect minorities, women, and other underserved entrepreneurs to the services and resources they need to succeed,” Cardin said in a statement. “The $3 million in congressionally directed funding will increase the Bowie Business Innovation Center’s capacity to help underserved entrepreneurs more than ten-fold.”