Although my tenure as CEO has just begun, I have been fortunate to have worked on a variety of economic development projects in my previous role as Anne Arundel County’s controller. That perspective, as well as my familiarity with the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.’s (AAEDC) experienced staff and many of its partners, allows me to have a smooth transition into my new role and provide seamless continuation on several of AAEDC’s major initiatives.
Our corporation is a valuable resource to existing and new businesses in Anne Arundel County. We work as the liaison to help businesses get through the permitting process and introducing them to helpful tools such as loans, tax credit programs, workforce training resources and market research data. AAEDC staff is ready and able to assist businesses with a broad range of issues. We want people to contact us — if we haven’t already contacted them. We understand how complicated the process can be, particularly if a business is new to the area; our goal is to be a one-stop shop for business so we can match up businesses with the resources that they need.
One of my first priorities is to assess the tools we offer, not just to attract business to the county, but to help existing businesses grow. The AAEDC offers a menu of finance and tax credit programs and other incentives, and I continue to work with our business development and finance teams in understanding which programs are popular with our business community and which programs are underutilized. And why.
At the same time, we are reviewing regional, state and national data to see what best practices we may be able to implement here. Depending on our findings, this may mean that we will consider advocating for legislation.
Another question I have been asking is whether we are marketing our resources appropriately. If a program is underused, is it because there’s a lack of awareness? Or perhaps a misperception that it’s cumbersome and difficult to negotiate? I believe such a discussion is valuable and can help the AAEDC understand how to be more efficient, how to cut the red tape and how to make sure that we have programs in place that are worthwhile and effective for businesses.
As Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh likes to say, “Anne Arundel County is the best place to live, work and start a business.” On that note, our team is committed to getting businesses up and running — and putting the tools in place to attract and grow businesses in Anne Arundel County.
— Julie Mussog, CEO
Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.