Archives For Finance & Services

women-owned businessMore than one in four U.S. companies is owned or led by a woman, a recent report by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) shows. These female entrepreneurs and business leaders now make up the fastest growing segment of the economy, and their economic impact is reaching unprecedented levels, announced Carla Harris, chair of the NWBC.

“Our hope is to sustain this momentum and build bridges between influencers, institutions, and entrepreneurs so that we can positively impact the business climate for women. The work of the Council is grounded in the belief that women have innovative ideas, that women are strong leaders, and that women are launching businesses that create value and solve problems,” Harris said.

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entrepreneursThe new year brings new opportunities for growing your Maryland business. But where do you start? Here are five suggestions. 

Share additional tips and ideas with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) on Facebook and Twitter @MDBIZ

Take a class

  • A number of organizations across Maryland offer classes and workshops focused on boosting your business know-how. Some are free. Others requires a small fee. Interested in going global? Check out the Export Finance Workshop on Feb. 4, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration Baltimore District Office. Looking to increase your profits? Register for Growing Profitable Sales on Feb. 24, hosted by SCORE of Southern Maryland.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 12.47.58 PMThis is no time for excuses. If you’re looking to boost your early-stage company in the coming year, submit your application today for the 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge. Your company could walk away with a top prize of $100,000 or other grants and awards. The application period for the third annual business competition ends on Friday, Dec. 12. 

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High Country Creamery and Market will operate a new cheese manufacturing facility in Western Maryland.

The Town of Grantsville in Western Maryland, with assistance from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), will breathe new life into a former production facility.

The former site of Yoder’s Country Meats will be transformed into a new cheese manufacturing plant to be operated by High Country Creamery and Market. A $400,000 conditional grant from DBED will enable the company to open a local goods and produce market, as well as a deli and café for the residents of Garrett County, DBED Secretary Dominick Murray announced.

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Get Real Health received an ExportMD grant to attend MEDICA. Photo courtesy Get Real Health

Christina Caraballo is Senior Healthcare Strategist at Get Real Health.

At Get Real Health, our mission has always been to use innovative technologies to connect patients and providers. As industry leaders with an established international presence, we’ve formed working relationships with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

When DBED reached out to us and recommended that we apply for the ExportMD grant to showcase InstantPHR at the MEDICA conference in Dusseldorf, Germany, we jumped at the chance. As one of the largest trade shows in the world, MEDICA is the perfect forum to share our revolutionary health platform with those seeking innovative solutions.

Our relationships with DBED and U.S. Department of Commerce were cultivated due to our subject matter expertise in the U.S. and global markets around health information technology and consumer engagement; our success in exporting as a small business; and our industry-wide recognition as a leading patient engagement solution. Our InstantPHR platform is built for international success with our flexible, multi-lingual platform and ability to integrate with any database.

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WebstaurantStore—the nation's largest online supplier of food service equipment—is opening its second East Coast distribution center in a 525,000 square-foot space in Cumberland.

WebstaurantStore is opening its second East Coast distribution center in a 525,000 square-foot space in Cumberland. Photo courtesy WebstaurantStore

WebstaurantStore Food Service Equipment and Supply Company is bringing everything and the kitchen sink to Maryland.

WebstaurantStore—the nation’s largest online supplier of food service equipment—is opening its second East Coast distribution center in a 525,000 square-foot space in Cumberland. The company plans to add 150 jobs to the location within the next two years, Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray announced Monday.

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Veterans Day

U.S. Navy veteran Nick Fertig (right) and Dan Baumiller (left) are co-owners of Baltimore-based Full Tilt Brewing.

Nick Fertig, co-owner of Baltimore-based Full Tilt Brewing, stands in stark contrast to the man he was 12 years ago.

“I was just a kid then. I didn’t know where I was going,” he said.

Seeking direction, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and eventually worked as an engineering lab tech. Serving between 2002 and 2008, he discovered an inner strength that prepared him to become an entrepreneur. He launched his microbrewery for specialty ales and beers (including Berger Cookie flavored stout) in 2012.

“The Navy helped align everything for me. I discovered a new level of discipline,” Fertig said. “Our company is not quite two years old and it’s a lot of work keeping everything afloat. The Navy trained me to keep chugging along, even when things are tough.”

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The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) is committed to fostering growth among small businesses throughout the State. MDBIZ News sat down with DBED’s Director of the Office of Small Business Sean McEvoy to discuss some of the available resources.

Q: Why are small businesses so important to Maryland’s economy?

A: Small businesses are important because of their role as new job creators at both the national and the state level. In the U.S., small firms, as defined by the SBA, accounted for 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 (or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs). Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60 percent of the net new jobs. They also make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms. Maryland’s nurturing environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs is no secret. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maryland the No. 1 state for entrepreneurship and innovation for two years in a row

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DBED helps cut the ribbon to a new Sephora distribution center. The company received a $1 million loan from the agency’s Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF).

DBED helps cut the ribbon to a new Sephora distribution center. The company received a $1 million loan from the agency’s Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF).

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) includes a variety of resources to help businesses grow and thrive throughout the State. MDBIZ News sat down with DBED’s Office of Finance Programs Program Director Greg Cole to discuss why these benefits are so crucial to economic development.

Q: Share with us some of the most important financing programs available to Maryland businesses. 

A: DBED’s Office of Finance Programs includes eight different financing programs and 11 tax credits. There are a lot of resources and each one fills a specific niche.

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Motionsoft’s management software provides solutions for the wellness industry. Photo courtesy of Motionsoft.

The Maryland Venture Fund (MVF) has invested $600,000 in Rockville-based Motionsoft, a leading provider of management software to gyms and fitness clubs.

The investment comes as part of a $10 million Series B investment round led by Route 66 Ventures and included Edison Ventures as a co-investor. The State of Maryland’s investment is part of a multifaceted effort led by Governor Martin O’Malley to stimulate growth and job creation among high-tech startup companies in Maryland.

“Today’s investment is part of our focus on innovation — we are committed to supporting our entrepreneurs, innovators, startup companies and small businesses like Motionsoft because, in addition to being the future leaders of our economy, they are creating the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Governor O’Malley.

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Sitting down and having a conversation with a person, face to face, it tends to be fairly obvious if a person is feeling satisfied or frustrated, and whether a statement has real significance or is simply a passing observation.

But when communication is reduced to a quick online exchange in the form of a Facebook post, a tweet or a review, understanding significance and emotional context can be incredibly difficult, even more so for companies and organizations that process hundreds or even thousands of these feedback messages per day.

Synapsify, a technology company based in Bethesda, Maryland has a solution. The company has developed a unique tool for interpreting and prioritizing text and making analytical recommendations. It goes beyond categorizing positive, negative and neutral sentiment. Instead, it qualitatively scores and indexes text and patterns in terms of relevance, narrative and underlying thematic concepts.

The company’s innovative approach to managing feedback has attracted national media attention. Forbes named Synapsify one of the Top 10 Data Startups to Watch in 2013 and Gigaom awarded the company its Structure Award for Text Analytics.

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The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation awarded its first Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan to the owners of Brick House, LLC.

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation awarded its first Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund program loan to the owners of Brick House, LLC.

As Maryland’s casinos continue to grow in popularity, so do their contributions to the State’s Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund. The program receives 1.5 percent of video lottery terminal revenue and has already approved 77 loans totaling $7.8 million.

Loan and investment recipients have included a limousine and sedan service, a caterer, a home health care company, an art gallery and several restaurants. All of these business loans are helping to grow Maryland’s economy, but none would be possible without the fund managers that approve and distribute the loans.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced Wednesday that four new fund managers have been approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works, including:

They will join existing fund managers Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. and Meridian Management Group Inc.

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