The Columbia-based Maryland Technology Development Corp.’s (TEDCO) new economic relief initiative to benefit socially and economically disadvantaged and rural early-stage technology-based businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is now available.

Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced a state emergency economic relief package that includes $5 million to help socially and economically disadvantaged companies or companies in rural areas negatively affected by COVID-19. The economic relief is available statewide to qualifying companies that demonstrate some adverse impact from the COVID crisis.

The announcement from the governor was part of $180 million in additional economic relief contributing to a cumulative total of more than $600 million provided by the state to date in emergency economic relief.

The funds administered by TEDCO will be provided to early-stage companies that are impacted by the current crisis and are in need of bridge funding to survive and prosper as the downturn and COVID-19 crisis subsides. The funds will focus on companies that have the highest barriers to traditional financing but are still expected to scale to the next phase of fundraising.

Startups employ Marylanders, contribute to critical supply chains, and provide valuable revenue to the State and local governments. TEDCO’s portfolio alone consists of over 250 companies that employ more than 2,400 Marylanders.

Recent reports from the Center for Responsible Lending have shown that more than 90 percent of small minority owned firms did not receive funds through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Existing banking relationships play a major role in how likely a business is to apply for, and have success in obtaining, a loan.

Many of the smallest businesses have never sought a line of credit and have no relationship with a lender. According to a 2020 Federal Reserve report, 46 percent of white-owned businesses have obtained loans in the past, while just 23% of black-owned firms have done so.  For rural regions, broadband connectivity issues make working in an all-virtual environment particularly challenging.

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