Archives For Small Business

From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, an elite group of small businesses are setting new standards for excellence in their fields. Among them are 14 Maryland business leaders, winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Maryland Small Business Week Awards Program.

The SBA’s Baltimore District Office recently announced the following winners:

Category Business leader Location
Accountant Advocate of the Year Donald Cunningham, Donald Cunningham, CPA LLC Millersville
Attorney Advocate of the Year Chad Malkus, Esq., Michael Hodes, LLC Cambridge
District Director’s Unsung Hero Award Rich Loeffler, Maryland Small Business & Technology Development Center Wye Mills
Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Danny Farrar & David Posin, Soldierfit Frederick
Family Owned Small Business of the Year Kim Lawson, Fishpaws Marketplace Arnold
Financial Services Champion of the Year Steve Primosch, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. Annapolis
Home-Based Business Champion of the Year Barbara Zimmer, B. Zimmer & Co. Pasadena
Insurance Advocate Nancy Ann Nicklow, Huff Insurance Pasadena
Maryland Small Business Person of the Year Stephanie Novak Hau, Chesapeake Environmental Management Bel Air
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Charles Ramos, CR Dynamics Baltimore
Small Business Exporter of the Year John Doran, Centreville Trailers Centreville
Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Joe Giordano, Project Opportunity Salisbury
Women in Business Champion of the Year Shabri Moore, Moore Wealth, Inc. Frederick
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Matt Wyble, Champion Realty Severna Park

The honorees will be recognized at the 30th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 15 in Woodlawn, Maryland. Find additional details and ticket information on the SBA’s website.

Learn more about how the State of Maryland works with the SBA to support entrepreneurs through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge is in full swing. If your business is in need of a jump start, check out this site for more information about the national business competition. The Challenge offers applicants free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors and the chance to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes. Winners of the Life Sciences, IT, Cybersecurity and General Industry categories will each win $100,000 awards. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes. Applications are due by Dec. 6.

Judges include a distinguished lineup of industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Meet a selection of judges below.

Meet The Judges:

IT-robDoub

ROBB DOUB

Robb Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak, Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.

IT-daphneDufresneDAPHNE DUFRESNE

Daphne Dufresne joined RLJ Equity Partners from Parish Capital Advisors, where she was a Venture Partner managing the direct investment and co-investment program. Formerly, Ms. Dufresne was a Principal at Weston Presidio Capital with $3.4 billion of assets under management. She also served as Associate Director in the Bank of Scotland’s Structured Finance Group. Ms. Dufresne received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

LS_Christy_W_WyskielCHRISTY WILLIAMS WYSKIEL

Christy Williams Wyskiel is an entrepreneur and investor with 20 years of experience focused on the life sciences and healthcare industries. Previously, Christy was Managing Director at Maverick Capital, an equity hedge fund with $12 billion under management. She co-founded GrayBug, an ophthalmic drug-delivery company. In 2012, Christy joined the Johns Hopkins Alliance, a board charged with evaluating the commercial viability of research projects at JHU.

CS_Frederick_FerrerFREDERICK J. FERRER

Frederick J. Ferrer has over three decades of experience in the National Security, Intelligence Community (IC), Homeland Defense and Cyber. Mr. Ferrer holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University and serves in a number of leadership capacities, including the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; National STEM Consortium Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.

GEN_Deb_TillettDEBORAH TILLETT

As the Executive Director and President of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore, Ms. Tillett is responsible for management of budgetary, administrative, programmatic functions and strategic planning. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services.

See the full list of judges and submit your application on InvestMarylandChallenge.org.

Maryland government agencies have a history of funding worker training projects, but never before has training been made so widely available across an entire industry.

Under the direction of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland Workforce Training Initiative is now offering an unprecedented opportunity for business leaders to form partnerships and offer the type of training needed to significantly increase worker productivity.

The first step is filling out an EARN Maryland Planning Grant application, which first became available on Oct. 15 and must be submitted by Nov. 12, 2013. Lead applicants will apply for $25,000 to fund the creation of a Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plan. There is no limit to the number of these grants the state will issue.

Between November 2013 and April 2014, the funding will assist the lead applicant in forming a partnership with fellow key players in their industry. Many will take advantage of professional membership organizations that already join business leaders together according to their shared interests. Through conferences, meetings and training sessions, they will determine the type of training needed most among workers in their industry and submit their requests for training programs.

By May 2014, DLLR will award implementation grants for approved Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans.

The lead applicant for the initial $25,000 planning grant can fall into any of the following categories:

• Employer
• Nonprofit organization
• Two- and four-year institution of higher education
• Local Workforce Board
• Industry association
• Labor union
• Local government
• Local or regional economic development entity

While the initiative is the first of its kind in Maryland, similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have already assisted workers in industries including aerospace, healthcare and clean energy. More information on their best practices is available through DLLR.

Those seeking more information should consider watching webinars on the program through DLLR’s website or attending a statewide Pre-Proposal Conference at 1 p.m. on October 18 at the Anne Arundel Community College, Robert E. Kauffman Theater, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012.

Keep up with the latest Maryland business news.

Winners of the 2013 Maryland Small Business Week Awards include a wide range of business savvy Marylanders.

Stephen D. Umberger, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Baltimore District Office, announced the winners Friday morning. Each will be honored during the 29th Annual MD Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on April 19 at Martin’s West in Woodlawn.

Winners include the following:

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Cerecor

Cerecor is an InvestMaryland Challenge finalist.

Check back for Q&A profiles on all the competition finalists.

The first-ever InvestMaryland Challenge is down to its final round with just 33 companies competing for more than $300,000 in grants and business services. The final winners will be announced during the Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on April 15.

One of the companies, selected out of more than 250 applicants, is Baltimore-based Cerecor. To find out a little more about this innovative pharmaceutical company, we spoke with co-founder and CEO Blake M Paterson, MD.

Q. What does Cerecor do, and how would you explain it to the average person?

A. We develop drugs that work in the human nervous system. There are many different diseases where doing something to the human nervous system can bring about positive therapeutic benefits, and it doesn’t even have to be a neurological disease. For example, cough, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome—those are all diseases where getting a drug into the nervous system can have a major impact on the illness.

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BusinessIQ Express

Disadvantaged businesses could benefit from an online cash flow management tool.

The U.S. Small Business Association is launching an online cash flow management tool for disadvantaged American businesses, the SBA announced Wednesday.

BusinessIQ Express was formed through a partnership between the SBA and Experian, a leading global information services provider.

The program assists small business owners with the following tasks:

  • evaluating prospective customers’ and suppliers’ ability to pay
  • monitoring business relationships with alerts and notifications of key changes
  • collecting outstanding debts and avoiding future losses

In order to qualify to use the tool, businesses must be small disadvantaged firms in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program or certified in SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program. These businesses are generally owned by women, minorities, those with disabilities, or are located in designated geographic areas.

A webinar on using BusinessIQ Express is planned between 2 pm and 3 pm on April 2. Find registration information here.

 

The recently passed Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, which will likely result in a wind farm near Ocean City, provides $10 million to assist minority firms in gaining contracts. It also paves the way for clean energy programs at historically black colleges, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

According to the article:

The funding will help businesses gear up to handle a variety of work related to the wind farm, including manufacturing components for wind turbines, transporting freight and providing engineering and other professional services, said [Vernon] Wade, CEO of Wade Enterprises Inc., an information technology company based in Ft. Washington …

The legislation also includes the creation of a Clean Energy Program Task Force to recommend whether Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore should establish programs that would grant a degree or certificate in clean energy.

Find the BBJ’s complete report here.

Check back for Q&A profiles on all the competition finalists.

Find MD BIZ News’ profile on Sickweather from March 2012. 

The first-ever InvestMaryland Challenge is down to its final round with just 33 companies competing for more than $300,000 in grants and business services. The final winners will be announced during the Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on April 15.

One of the companies, selected out of more than 250 applicants, is Baltimore-based Sickweather, founded in 2012. To find out a little more about this innovative company, we spoke with co-founder and CEO Graham Dodge.

Q. What does Sickweather do, and how would you explain it to the average person?

A. We’re like a Doppler radar for sickness. We’re able to track illness with real-time data that we gather from social networks. We then generate these weather maps related to illness. We can show you now for the first time ever where the flu is going around, where pink eye is going around, or other various viruses.

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Templar Keyboard

Advanced Concepts Research Group offers secure mouses and keyboards.

Check back for Q&A profiles on all the competition finalists.

The first-ever InvestMaryland Challenge is down to its final round with just 33 companies competing for more than $300,000 in grants and business services. The final winners will be announced during the Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on April 15.

One of the companies, selected out of more than 250 applicants, is Advanced Concepts Research Group, based in Gainesville,Virginia and Aberdeen, Maryland, founded in 2010. To find out a little more about this high-tech company, we spoke with President and CEO Yasuko Carr and Executive Vice President and CIO Chadd Carr, who also describe themselves as a “dynamic husband and wife duo.”

Q. What does Advanced Concepts Research Group do, and how would you explain it to the average person?

Yasuko: We are a certified minority and woman-owned small business. ACRG offers expertise in information technology research and development and formal test and evaluation of information and intelligence-based systems. Our goal is to provide a broader range and more robust set of cyber threat intelligence tools essential for building a more secure cyberspace. ACRG’s Security Sciences Laboratory seeks to reduce future cyber security issues through the research of root causes of modern cyber security deficiencies, fostering open collaboration and integration of emerging knowledge, and expediting time-to-market of technologies, standards, and requirements.

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Maryland incubator map

Maryland has 27 business incubators.

Looking for a supportive environment for your startup—a low cost space with easy access to educational resources and exposure to investors?

You might consider setting up shop in one of Maryland’s 27 business incubators, designed to support early-stage entrepreneurial companies in fields ranging from medical research to clean energy.

Incubators exist across the state in the following regions:

Find contact and admission information for Maryland incubators here through the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development.

Do you have a question related to Maryland business? Tell us in the comments.

Find previous DBED Answers posts here.

 MSNBC JJ Ramberg

MSNBC’s JJ Ramberg is planning to present a free lecture in Baltimore on April 9.

Looking to transform your small business? JJ Ramberg, the longtime host of MSNBC’s “Your Business,” may offer some ideas.

On April 9, at 500 West Baltimore St. in Baltimore, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is sponsoring a free book signing and lecture featuring Ramberg. Starting at 4:30 p.m., she plans to sign copies of her bestselling book, ”It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips That Will Transform Your Small Business.” The lecture, ”An Evening of Entrepreneurship with JJ Ramberg,” is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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