To all the great folks at BrainScope -- thank you for exemplifying what our Maryland innovation economy is all about. We create jobs here in Maryland by the innovations that we accelerate and move forward in terms of how we feed, and how we fuel, and how we heal this world of ours. And particularly where brain trauma is concerned -- given our location, given our assets, given the role we play in our nation's defense -- Maryland is called upon to be an innovator and to be a leader in figuring out better, more timely ways to diagnose and to treat brain injuries. Whether we're identifying traumatic brain injury in a soldier overseas, or detecting the concussion in a child or athlete on the sports field, you're innovation represents a tremendous amount of hope, not only for healing and recovery, but also for our economy.
Many of the new jobs that are created in our country are created through entrepreneurs and innovators. I grew up in this area -- in fact, these were my stomping grounds as a little kid. Bethesda, in particular this whole Montgomery County-270 corridor, is really a hotbed of innovation and discovery. And Maryland is so very, very well-equipped with the assets that we need: the Federal institutions -- NIH, Fort Detrick, Fort Meade, and the like. We are leaders in life sciences, clean tech, green tech, healthcare, information technology, cyber security, space, aerospace, global trade, and increasingly advanced manufacturing.
Let me give you three rankings: number one, number one, and number twenty. Maryland has the number one schools in America -- not by chance, but by the choice. By the investments that we have made together. Maryland is number one, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in innovation and entrepreneurship. And yet we are number 20 when it comes to actually commercializing the great ideas that come from the labs, that come from the researchers, and getting them into the economic mainstream, where we can create jobs -- because without jobs there is no progress. That 20th ranking, believe it or not, is up from 37th a year ago. And part of the reason for that are the good things that we are doing to recognize where we can become stronger.
We're a great state, but every state has a collection of strengths and also some things that are more weaknesses. And one of the weaknesses that we identified was the access to venture capital -- the ability to take a small company, and make a bigger company, and a bigger company still -- to create more jobs.
So, a couple of the announcements we have here: First, I am pleased to announce that we have chosen BrainScope to be the first investment we make through Invest Maryland with a $250,000 investment. [Applause]
That investment will be coupled with funding from our Maryland Venture Fund last year, which brings our total investment to $500,000 here in BrainScope. Because we believe in the potential, we believe in the need, and we believe in the job creation.
That brings us to our second announcement, which is part of our commitment to fuel seed and early-stage ventures, spur entrepreneurship, and attract top innovators to our State and enable the ones that we have to grow and succeed.
We're launching the InvestMaryland Challenge, a $300,000 business competition designed to accelerate entrepreneurship here in our State. We are searching the country for some of the most promising small businesses that are willing to create jobs here in Maryland.
InvestMaryland and the venture capital we're injecting into our economy, the new Maryland Innovation Initiative, the CyberMaryland initiative, skills training initiatives like Pathways to Cyber Security, Career and Technology Education, Science Technology Engineering & Math Education, Tax credits like the Biotechnology Tax Credit and the R&D Credit, Stem Cell Research investments, affordable college, All of these things matter.
These are things that aren't created by chance. They're created by the choices that we make together.
The most important job we create is the next one, and, really, the answers to job creation lie in addressing the great challenges of our world -- figuring out a way to feed, and fuel, and heal a planet that is most definitely in need.