February 28, 2020

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

Ball will award eight grants, totaling $225,000, to local organizations for innovative ideas, projects, and programs

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will award eight innovation grants to local organizations throughout the first week of March. Ball announced the $225,000 Innovation Fund last year to stimulate unique and creative ideas within Howard County.

“Business thrives on imagination – and we wanted to do our part to support and encourage innovative ideas,” said Ball. “These grants not only support projects that will benefit residents but will hopefully foster a culture of inventive ideas throughout our business and non-profit community.”

Ball will visit each of the site locations, learn more about each of the innovations, and see demonstrations where applicable.

The award winners include:

  • Howard County Autism Society for an Autism Hiring Program that advances neurodiversity and connects Howard County businesses to a competent, capable workforce
  • Community Ecology Institute to utilize their farm to demonstrate the innovative best practices identified by the U.S. Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge including agrivoltaics, biodiversity, agroforestry, and no-till farming.
  • Office of Sustainability to study lawn alternative projects and develop an outreach program.
  • American Diversity Group for a telemedicine program that eliminates many barriers to accessing healthcare by installing telemedicine application on residents’ smartphones.
  • Department of Community Resources for The Instant Language Assistant Professional (ILA Pro), a real-time interpretation device that facilitates in-person and remote communication for people with differing abilities and languages.
  • Humanim to create an alternative staffing model that is employee-owned for Direct Service Providers to reduce staff turnover.
  • Respite Retreats to provide virtual reality to cancer patients that benefits rehabilitation and recovery, pain relief, lessens anxiety, creates a meditative experience, and is also shown to boost the effectiveness of other medical treatments.  
  • STEERTech and the Economic Development Authority to use autonomous vehicles for rapid refueling of an electric vehicle fleet, which will improve overall efficiency.

Howard County Innovation Week

March 2nd

11:30 am - STEERTech
(6751 Columbia Gateway Dr #500, Columbia, MD 21046)

1:00 pm – Department of Community Resources
(9830 Patuxent Woods Dr, Columbia, MD 21046)

2:00 pm – Howard County Autism Society
(9770 Patuxent Woods Dr #308, Columbia, MD 21046)

March 3rd

9:00 am – Office of Community Sustainability
(Linden Hall, 4765 Dorsey Hall Dr, Ellicott City, MD 21042)

11:00 am - Humanim (6355 Woodside Court, Columbia, MD 21046)

12:30 pm - Community Ecology Institute
(8000 Harriet Tubman Ln, Columbia, MD 21044)

2:00 pm - American Diversity Group (Gateway Innovation, 6751 Columbia Gateway Dr #500, Columbia, MD 21046)

3:30 pm - Respite Retreats (1525 Marriottsville Rd, Marriottsville, MD 21104)

Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive

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