Governor O’Malley Announces Increased Support for Maryland’s Small and Minority Businesses

(April 14, 2009) – In an effort to assist small and minority-owned businesses struggling to access capital, Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the State has approved $410,000 in grants to revolving loan funds in Prince George’s and Queen Anne’s counties. The grants, made through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), will help capitalize the Queen Anne’s County Business Development Revolving Loan Fund and the Economic Development and Training Institute’s (EDTI) Revolving Loan Fund in Prince George’s County which will, in turn, provide loans to micro, small and minority-owned businesses in their communities.

“This funding will help address one of the most critical concerns in Maryland’s economy today – providing much-needed loans to our small and minority-owned businesses, helping them to stay afloat and maintain their workforce during these uncertain times,” said Governor O’Malley. “A healthy small and minority business community is the cornerstone of our economy, and will ultimately help our State come through this national economic downturn more quickly than others.”

“Helping to build and strengthen local businesses is an extremely important step in getting our economy back on track,” said Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Eric Wargotz, the liaison to the county’s Economic Development Commission. “These state funds will not only help businesses by increasing their level of service or production but also provide opportunities for employment,” he said.

“In this economy, obtaining adequate capital has become a major obstacle for small and minority-owned firms. With conventional commercial lines of credits drying up, but operational expenses such as payroll, payments to suppliers and rent continuing to drain resources, innovative sources of loan assistance are critical to the small business owner,” said Joe Gaskins Chief Executive Officer of EDTI. “Thanks, to Governor O’Malley and DBED, those firms within Prince George’s County will have access to an alternative emergency funding source for those payroll issues.”

As part of the agreement, the State will provide a $235,000 grant to Queen Anne’s County to provide working capital or bridge funding to small and minority-owned businesses. The County will provide a matching grant.

The State has also approved a $175,000 grant to EDTI, which operates a micro and small business incubation and counseling facility in Suitland, providing express loans, free business workshops and counseling to micro, small, minority and woman-owned businesses in Prince George’s County. The State’s grant would be leveraged by a $150,000 grant from the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development.

Incorporated in 1998, EDTI provides economic and community development programs that focus on business development, affordable office space, employment opportunities for small businesses and affordable housing for low-income individuals.

ABOUT DBED:
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s mission is to attract new businesses, stimulate private investment and create jobs, encourage the expansion and retention of existing companies and provide businesses in Maryland with workforce training and financial assistance. The department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development, international trade and tourism. Because they are a major economic generator, the department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit www.choosemaryland.org.

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