The Howard County’s Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) has opened applications for a second cohort of HoCo Higher, a transformative entrepreneur accelerator program in partnership with M&T Bank.

The program teaches early stage and historically underserved entrepreneurs the essentials of business planning, operations, credit building, digital communication and financial management. Top business mentors, coaches and subject matter experts will lead the intensive 10-week boot camp at no cost to participants.

Emerging and existing small business owners are invited to apply for this unique opportunity to get in financial shape and learn best practices from trusted financial insiders. Enrollment is based on a competitive application process. The 10-week program begins on March 23 and will meet weekly on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia.

Applicants have the following minimum requirements:

  •  At least two years in business operations
  •  Annual gross revenues of $150,000 or more; and
  • Be a Howard County based business and in good standing

“This public/private partnership is another great way to support our early-stage entrepreneurs,” said EDA President Larry Twele. “It is central to the mission of our Maryland Innovation Center and the myriad of programs under our BRITE (Business Revitalization Initiative Through Entrepreneurship) platform. We appreciate the County Executive’s leadership and the participation of M&T Bank and BGE to support our local small business owners.”

Entrepreneurs selected for the program will follow a curriculum curated by M&T Bank, which will include lessons on legal business formation, obtaining certifications, developing business plans, managing business and personal finances, sourcing capital, pricing strategies, risk management and business insurance, marketing strategies and more.