Archives For Small Business

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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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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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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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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From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, an elite group of small businesses are setting new standards for excellence in their fields. Among them are 14 Maryland business leaders, winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Maryland Small Business Week Awards Program.

The SBA’s Baltimore District Office recently announced the following winners:

Category Business leader Location
Accountant Advocate of the Year Donald Cunningham, Donald Cunningham, CPA LLC Millersville
Attorney Advocate of the Year Chad Malkus, Esq., Michael Hodes, LLC Cambridge
District Director’s Unsung Hero Award Rich Loeffler, Maryland Small Business & Technology Development Center Wye Mills
Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Danny Farrar & David Posin, Soldierfit Frederick
Family Owned Small Business of the Year Kim Lawson, Fishpaws Marketplace Arnold
Financial Services Champion of the Year Steve Primosch, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. Annapolis
Home-Based Business Champion of the Year Barbara Zimmer, B. Zimmer & Co. Pasadena
Insurance Advocate Nancy Ann Nicklow, Huff Insurance Pasadena
Maryland Small Business Person of the Year Stephanie Novak Hau, Chesapeake Environmental Management Bel Air
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Charles Ramos, CR Dynamics Baltimore
Small Business Exporter of the Year John Doran, Centreville Trailers Centreville
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Joe Giordano, Project Opportunity Salisbury
Women in Business Champion of the Year Shabri Moore, Moore Wealth, Inc. Frederick
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Matt Wyble, Champion Realty Severna Park

The honorees will be recognized at the 30th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 15 in Woodlawn, Maryland. Find additional details and ticket information on the SBA’s website.

Learn more about how the State of Maryland works with the SBA to support entrepreneurs through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge is in full swing. If your business is in need of a jump start, check out this site for more information about the national business competition. The Challenge offers applicants free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors and the chance to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes. Winners of the Life Sciences, IT, Cybersecurity and General Industry categories will each win $100,000 awards. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes. Applications are due by Dec. 6.

Judges include a distinguished lineup of industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Meet a selection of judges below.

Meet The Judges:



Robb Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak, Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.


Daphne Dufresne joined RLJ Equity Partners from Parish Capital Advisors, where she was a Venture Partner managing the direct investment and co-investment program. Formerly, Ms. Dufresne was a Principal at Weston Presidio Capital with $3.4 billion of assets under management. She also served as Associate Director in the Bank of Scotland’s Structured Finance Group. Ms. Dufresne received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Christy Williams Wyskiel is an entrepreneur and investor with 20 years of experience focused on the life sciences and healthcare industries. Previously, Christy was Managing Director at Maverick Capital, an equity hedge fund with $12 billion under management. She co-founded GrayBug, an ophthalmic drug-delivery company. In 2012, Christy joined the Johns Hopkins Alliance, a board charged with evaluating the commercial viability of research projects at JHU.


Frederick J. Ferrer has over three decades of experience in the National Security, Intelligence Community (IC), Homeland Defense and Cyber. Mr. Ferrer holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University and serves in a number of leadership capacities, including the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; National STEM Consortium Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.


As the Executive Director and President of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore, Ms. Tillett is responsible for management of budgetary, administrative, programmatic functions and strategic planning. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services.

See the full list of judges and submit your application on

Maryland government agencies have a history of funding worker training projects, but never before has training been made so widely available across an entire industry.

Under the direction of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland Workforce Training Initiative is now offering an unprecedented opportunity for business leaders to form partnerships and offer the type of training needed to significantly increase worker productivity.

The first step is filling out an EARN Maryland Planning Grant application, which first became available on Oct. 15 and must be submitted by Nov. 12, 2013. Lead applicants will apply for $25,000 to fund the creation of a Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plan. There is no limit to the number of these grants the state will issue.

Between November 2013 and April 2014, the funding will assist the lead applicant in forming a partnership with fellow key players in their industry. Many will take advantage of professional membership organizations that already join business leaders together according to their shared interests. Through conferences, meetings and training sessions, they will determine the type of training needed most among workers in their industry and submit their requests for training programs.

By May 2014, DLLR will award implementation grants for approved Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans.

The lead applicant for the initial $25,000 planning grant can fall into any of the following categories:

• Employer
• Nonprofit organization
• Two- and four-year institution of higher education
• Local Workforce Board
• Industry association
• Labor union
• Local government
• Local or regional economic development entity

While the initiative is the first of its kind in Maryland, similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have already assisted workers in industries including aerospace, healthcare and clean energy. More information on their best practices is available through DLLR.

Those seeking more information should consider watching webinars on the program through DLLR’s website or attending a statewide Pre-Proposal Conference at 1 p.m. on October 18 at the Anne Arundel Community College, Robert E. Kauffman Theater, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012.

Keep up with the latest Maryland business news.