During the last four years, I have worked to enhance and expand the tools provided to support and grow our local businesses. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to our county resources, we partnered with the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and federal and state agencies to provide critical grants, programs, educational opportunities, and financing options. With the New Year, I want to highlight a few events and opportunities in January. 

Education matters!

The BRITE Program (Business Revitalization Initiative Through Entrepreneurship) accelerates the journey from innovation through commercialization. From mentoring to marketing, product development to pitching, BRITE provides early-stage startups and seasoned businesses in Howard County with direct pathways to entrepreneurial success. This program is offered at the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC) and offers several classes to the public. 

The first class in the BRITE Program for 2023 is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2023, from 6 to 9 p.m. with the Rethinking Your Business: Kauffman FastTrac.

The next opportunity is the Small Business Information Session for business owners looking to start or grow their business. This session will provide attendees with resources that can support their business endeavors followed by a Q&A and one-on-one presentations for attendees to discuss specific topics based on their business needs. 

Use the link here to join the HCEDA at session on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

For more information on these opportunities contact Allison Bliss, Associate Director of Events and Marketing at the Howard County Economic Development Authority at 410-313-6500 or visit them online at HCEDA.org. 

Funding matters!

We are proud of the Catalyst Fund, administered by the HCEDA. This fund is an important tool that supports businesses that may not qualify for traditional financing vehicles and is part of Maryland’s Video Lottery Terminal funds. 

Just in fiscal year 2022, HCEDA has approved $2.1 million in Catalyst loans to Howard County businesses. These funds have been used for working capital, equipment, real estate, franchise fees, inventory purchases etc. These funds have been used for working capital, equipment, real estate, franchise fees and inventory purchases. 

Often the lack of cash or credit prevents some small businesses from accessing capital. The Collateral Enhancement Program is designed to help small businesses that don’t have sufficient collateral to get loan approval. 

Together, the Catalyst Loan Fund and Collateral Enhancement Program are complementary tools that jump-start businesses and put them on a path to success. 

For more information on the Catalyst Loan and Collateral Enhancement programs, contact Darshni Patel, Director, Business Incentive Programs at [email protected] 

From Day One, our administration has worked to strengthen our ecosystem to ensure our businesses are equipped to grow stronger and prosper. As we embark on a new four-year term, we renew that commitment and vow to raise the bar even higher.