Archives For Finance & Services

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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Salsa Labs

Salsa Labs

Salsa Labs, a marketing software provider for nonprofit organizations and social and political campaigns, has received the largest-ever investment from the State-run Maryland Venture Fund. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced the $1 million investment on Thursday. Edison Ventures, an information technology investor, led the $5 million round.

Company officials have committed to moving Salsa Labs and its 50 employees to Maryland, from its current offices in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Founded in 2004, the software serves more than than 2,000 organizations and 15,000 campaign managers. Nonprofit clients, ranging from the Sunlight Foundation to Aid for Africa, have raised more than $280 million and driven more than 36 million actions online.

“Online engagement is key to a nonprofit’s long-term success, and we have built a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution focused on enhancing how the nonprofit organization connects with its donors and activists,” Salsa Labs CEO Scott Stouffer said in a statement. “With this funding, we will continue to invest in supporter-centric product innovation that furthers our clients’ missions.”

“We are proud to make the largest-ever Maryland Venture Fund investment in Salsa as they bring their cutting-edge technology and exciting growth to Maryland,” DBED Secretary Dominick Murray said in a statement. “High-tech and innovative companies like Salsa are critical for the health of Maryland’s vibrant Innovation Economy, and we are committed to support them as they expand and create family-sustaining jobs.”

Brush up on your business development skills with help from the U.S. Small Business Association. Several events are planned to celebrate National Small Business Week, May 12-16, with additional events through the summer. 

How SBA Loan Programs Help Lenders Expand Access to Capital

  • What: SBA’s Baltimore District and West Virginia offices will offer training to commercial lenders on how SBA loan programs can help provide more access to capital for their small business customers. Commercial loan officers, relationship managers, bank managers and resource partners are encouraged to attend.
  • When: May 13, registration begins at 8:30 a.m., workshop runs 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
  • Where: University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, 32 W. Washington Ave. Room 124 and 125, Hagerstown, MD
  • Registration: Free admission, registration available by contacting Diane McFarland of the Maryland Small Business and Technical Development Center by email at

30th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon

  • What: Meet the winners and hear their inspiring stories. Network with other small business owners, lenders, resource providers and government representatives.
  • When: May 15, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Martins West, 6817 Dogwood Road, Baltimore, MD 21244
  • Registration: Tickets start at $60 per person, find additional information on the event website

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