Supporting Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship

Photo Credit: Anne Arundel County; Copyright 2015 – Roger Miller

Small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies and provide numerous advantages to communities, from creating jobs and reducing unemployment to stimulating the local economy. Keeping capital circulating locally, small businesses build the local tax base and lead to more local public infrastructure like libraries, schools, roads, and health care systems. In turn, this local economic growth promotes entrepreneurship, attracting new talent, perspectives, and innovation.

In the Maryland National Capital Region, small businesses are an essential component of our collective identity, and we know prioritizing their success leads to significant benefits for our community. Our identity, character, and culture are formed and enhanced by our rich array of small businesses. MNCREDA strives to support small businesses in every stage of development through an assortment of unique and beneficial offerings.

Charles County’s Small Business Advantage 

Starting and sustaining a small business requires immense planning, effort, and resources. Charles County supports small businesses with a full menu of options to support entrepreneurs and business owners. Minority and women-owned businesses can find assistance to participate in county government procurement through Charles County’s Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program. The Business Growth Advantage (BGAP) Program helps businesses grow by giving business owners the tools and strategies to achieve business goals. Through the Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Program, certified vendors get exclusive access to certain county government procurements and preferences for others.

The Partnership Privilege in Frederick County

Getting started is half the battle in creating a new small business. There are many steps in the process, and the checklist can seem daunting. Frederick County works hard to assist new businesses in all stages, especially from the start. Frederick County Innovative Technology Center, Inc (FITCI) is the County’s first technology incubator and has been going strong since 2004. FITCI supports start-ups and young firms and drastically reduces the risk of small business failures by providing entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to create a solid business foundation. FCOED’s partnership with the Maryland Women’s Business Center supports pre-venture, start-up, and existing women-owned businesses by offering business counseling, resources, and educational workshops and seminars such as an “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” – invaluable services for new small businesses. Maryland Small Business Development Center (Maryland SBDC) offers small businesses training, consulting, and research. Its Smart Start Assessment system can generate a customized action plan for new business owners to begin building their businesses.

Business Mentoring + Funding Programs, a Winning Combination in Anne Arundel County

Counseling and mentoring can be a vital component of the success of small businesses, and Anne Arundel County knows how to implement it. Based in Anne Arundel County, SCORE Southern Maryland connects experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives in many industries with small business professionals to help them start, develop, and grow businesses. The Maryland Small Business Development Center has provided sound advice, consulting, and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses across the state since 1988. Anne Arundel County also offers a host of funding options for small businesses, such as the Next Stage Tech Fund for small businesses in the national defense industry. Check here for the complete list of funding options.

The Innovation Influence in Montgomery County

Innovation is important to the success of small businesses. Developing creative options and ideas, keeping up with trends and new technologies, and staying flexible and adaptive leads to growth and improvement, and will help businesses stay ahead of the competition. Montgomery County supports small businesses in their quest for innovation through its many innovation centers. The Montgomery County Business Innovation Network has three innovation centers for emerging technology, cybersecurity, and life sciences companies at its Germantown, Rockville, and Silver Spring, Maryland facilities. At Montgomery College, the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology is an integrated academic, business, and research campus located in Germantown, Maryland. Outside-the-box thinking thrives at the Marriott Innovations Lab. A hive of creative solutions, the Marriott Innovations Lab allows integrative designers to analyze and experiment with new ideas for every aspect of the hotel experience.

Prince George’s County Cultivates Companies

Unique programming is one way Prince George’s County fosters economic gardening — a model of economic development based on the fundamental idea that entrepreneurs drive economies. Connecting entrepreneurs to resources and creating jobs by supporting existing companies, Prince George’s County invests in its community. Take Out Tuesdays is a tasty signature program through Prince George’s Economic Development Corporation (PGCEDC) – a three-season video series interviewing local restaurant owners at their restaurants – encouraging the community to eat locally. Creando Exitos spotlights Hispanic business owners in the community through compelling interviews. PGCEDC’s Pathways is a dynamic series of programs that take a deep dive into significant economic development and business topics, dedicated to educating, informing, and preparing local business owners to be at the top of their game when it comes to business expansion, management, and other areas.

Mentorship and Motivation in Howard County

The academic world is not the only place to seek education for entrepreneurs and business owners. Howard County offers a steady stream of educational, informational, and networking-oriented programming through its Maryland Innovation Center (MIC). Offerings such as the Kauffman FastTrac Program provides an accelerated MBA-like education for budding businesses. MIC’s entrepreneurs-in-residence offers direct assistance from seasoned experts. For companies in need of financial support, Howard County Economic Development Authority provides access to capital to growth-oriented businesses that are in the pre-banking stage through its Catalyst Loan Fund. This loan helps businesses to bridge gaps in existing or available funding options. 

Small businesses have many opportunities for support, education, and funding in the MNCREDA region. The positive impact of small businesses in a community is worth the investment for residents and business owners alike.