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Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone Program

​A RISE Zone is a geographic area that has nexus (a strong connection) with a qualified institution and is targeted for increased economic and community development. 

Qualified institutions include institutions of higher education, regional higher education centers or non-profits affiliated with a federal agency.

The purpose of the RISE Zone program is to access institutional assets that have a strong and demonstrated history of commitment to economic development and revitalization in the communities in which they are located. Qualified institutions and local governments develop a targeted strategy to use the institutional assets and financial incentives to attract businesses and create jobs within the zone.

A RISE Zone designation will be in effect for 5 years, with a possible additional 5-year renewal. Counties and municipalities are limited to a maximum of three RISE Zones.


Businesses locating in a RISE Zone or an existing business doing a significant expansion within the Zone, may qualify for real property tax credits and income tax credits related to capital investment and job creation. A business concierge with the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) will be available to assist businesses with identifying and utilizing other State programs for which they might qualify, and with permitting and licensing applications.


The designation of a RISE Zone requires a two-step process. Institutions must first apply to Commerce to be designated a Qualified Institution. Qualified Institutions applying to Commerce to designate a RISE Zone shall jointly apply with a county, municipality or the economic development agency of a county or municipality to designate a RISE Zone.

Applications to designate Qualified Institutions will be accepted on or after December 1, 2014. Within 90 days of submission of the application, the applicant will be notified if it has been designated a Qualified Institution.

Applications to designate RISE Zones will be accepted on or after July 1, 2015. Within 120 days of submission of an application, the applicants will be notified if the RISE Zone will be designated.


Mark A. Vulcan, Program Manager, Tax Incentives
Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Finance Programs


Application and Instructions: Qualified Institution
Application and Instructions: RISE Zone Designation​