Archives For Maryland Economy

Charles County Economic Development

The Charles County Department of Economic Development is focused on growth.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at

Charles County, Maryland is rapidly growing, and business owners and investors are taking notice.

Located in Southern Maryland in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Charles County borders five Virginia counties and three Maryland counties. Part of the county’s appeal is its central interstate placement, close to the nation’s capital, according to Director of Economic Development Kwasi Holman. The region offers a large and affluent consumer market and easy access to federal agencies and resources.

But the county’s past and continued successes run deeper than its proximity to the District. According to Holman, “Charles County is the D.C. metro area’s best-kept secret for business, offering a highly strategic location; flexible, affordable and attractive real estate options; and an ample talented workforce.”

U.S. Census and survey data show that Charles County has the lowest commercial vacancy rate and cost per square foot in the D.C. metro area, one of the most culturally diverse jurisdictions in the State, one of the highest median household incomes in the State at $91,801 and one of the highest rates of new residents moving into the county from elsewhere in Maryland.

A number of thriving companies already call Charles County home, among them the Community Bank of the Chesapeake, The Wills Group, Facchina Construction Company, OutsourceIT, Zekiah Technologies, Naval Support Facility Indian Head, SAIC and the Energetics Technology Center.

Charles County is also welcoming new development and programs.

Southern Maryland’s second solar farm, the Rockfish Solar Facility, will be developed by juwi solar Inc. in Charles County for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and is scheduled for commercial operation as early as the end of 2014.

The St. Charles Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant will also be developed in Charles County by Competitive Power Ventures, with construction beginning this year. Between 350 and 400 jobs will be created during construction, in addition to 30 permanent high paying jobs to operate the facility upon completion.

Charles County’s newly launched business visitation program is aimed at helping companies investigate their business options within the county’s borders. Ten office, industrial and technology parks also help provide a soft landing for new startups.

Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Charles County? Visit the Charles County Department of Economic Development here.

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Maryland welcomed spring with an additional 2,300 jobs in March.

Governor Martin O’Malley announced the positive monthly jobs report Friday morning and praised the State’s ongoing recovery efforts.

“With better choices, come better results. Maryland continues to show strong growth and resilience, with our private sector leading the way by creating 10,900 jobs over the past 12 months, or nearly eight out of ten new jobs. March marks yet another month of solid gains for our economy,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. “Every choice we make is about creating jobs, expanding opportunity and strengthening Maryland’s middle class. The most important job we create is the next one.”

Maryland’s March unemployment rate has been calculated at 5.6 percent, matching February’s revised unemployment rate. Unemployment has reached its lowest level since November 2008.

Total job gains in March included 1,800 additional jobs added in the private sector. The top industry subsectors to add jobs included retail trade, adding 2,200; administrative and support services, adding 900; and professional, scientific and technical services, adding 100.

When compared to March 2013, Maryland has added 14,000 jobs and gained jobs in nine of the last 12 months, according to the federal Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Find a detailed report on the State’s employment through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Worcester County Economic Development

Worcester County asks, “Why not make your vacation address your business address?” Photo courtesy of Worcester County Economic Development.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at

Imagine your beachside vacation home is just a stone’s throw from the company office. This “best of both worlds” lifestyle is a reality for many business owners in Worcester County, and county officials say it’s one of many reasons to investigate living and working in the area.

Worcester County, Maryland’s easternmost county, includes the State’s entire Atlantic coast. While it is overwhelmingly rural, it contains Ocean City, which becomes the State’s second most populated urban area during summer months.

“Because so many Marylanders are already familiar with Ocean City and own real estate here, one of our goals is to help entrepreneurs and employers build or relocate their businesses throughout the county,” said Worcester County Economic Development Director William Badger, Jr.

According to Badger, Worcester County’s family-friendly living conditions, central location, enterprise zones and easy access to funding and assistance are major draws for economic activity.

From bustling Ocean City to picturesque Berlin (recently voted America’s coolest small town), Worcester County offers a variety of cultural attractions, affordable housing and the second lowest property tax rate in the State, Badger said. The county also features the highest concentration of Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence awards, with nine out of 12 eligible public schools honored.

The county provides a central location between three major economic centers. Within roughly two and a half hours, one can drive from Worcester County to Baltimore City, Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia.

Maryland Enterprise zones in Snow Hill, Pokomoke City and Berlin are working to foster economic activity through income tax credits. The entire county is also a Historically Underutilized Business Zones, which means businesses can gain preferential access to federal contracts. New startups are also welcome at the Worcester County Small Business Incubator, located in Pocomoke City, with low cost rent and mentoring from experts available.

Recently, Worcester County small businesses have also taken advantage of low interest VOLT Fund loans, the State-sponsored Video Lottery Terminal, Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund. The loan program is funded through profits earned by Maryland casinos, with 50 percent of the funding allocated toward small, minority and women-owned businesses within 10 miles of a Maryland casino. The program includes Ocean Downs in Berlin.

Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Worcester County? Visit Worcester County Economic Development here.

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Maryland businesses Maryland businesses registered their strongest optimism in seven years in the most recent survey of business expectations conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Some 42 percent of businesses surveyed anticipated better business conditions in March than in February. Only 7 percent expected business conditions to worsen.

R. Andrew Bauer, a senior regional economist with the Richmond Fed, said that March’s “optimistic” outlook was about one-third higher than the normal pattern and the “pessimistic” outlook was significantly lower.

According to Bauer, additional monthly data is needed to determine if this represents an ongoing trend.

Among other results the Fed reported:

  • Both the general business conditions and sales indexes improved in the past two months, reaching highs in March.
  • Expectations down the road rose as well: 59 percent of respondents anticipated greater business activity six months from now, while 5 percent expected activity to decline.
  • The percentage of firms anticipating hiring over the next six months rose to 46 percent from 33 percent, while the number of respondents planning on reducing their workforce decreased from 12 percent to 8 percent.

Find additional information from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond survey here.

Destination MarylandHigher temperatures and sunnier skies are beaconing visitors to Maryland attractions. If you’re looking to channel your inner explorer, a new resource is loaded with information and discounts.

The Maryland Office of Tourism recently released its 2014 edition of Destination Maryland: The Official Guide to Maryland State Travel.

The magazine features:

  • Listings for attractions, destinations, events, parks, places to stay and travel services,
  • Information on historical attractions with connections to the Underground Railroad, Civil War, National Road and the War of 1812,
  • Detailed information on the Star-Spangled Spectacular, a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the writing of the National Anthem,
  • Calendar of events,
  • Free “Maryland Welcome! Passport” discount card and more.

The free discount card, enclosed in the magazine, offers up to $2,500 in savings at participating attractions, retailers, restaurants and accommodations throughout the state.

The magazine is available online, at Maryland welcome centers and may be ordered by phone at 1-800-719-5900.

Maryland tourism has proven itself to be a vital state industry. The Maryland Office of Tourism, within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, found that in 2012, visitors to the state spent more than $14.9 billion on travel-related expenses, generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes and supported more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.

The Caroline Industrial Park is one of five in Caroline County on the Eastern Shore.

The Caroline Industrial Park is one of five in Caroline County on the Eastern Shore.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Kimball, at  

Caroline County, nestled between Talbot County and the Delaware border on the Eastern Shore, is known for its fresh air and farmland. But in recent years, manufacturers and tech companies are cropping up, joining Kraft Foods GlobalSolo CupChoptank Transport and other major brands throughout the county.

This is thanks in part to the county’s quality workforce, a variety of business resources and the availability of tax credits, according to Angela Visintainer, Director of Economic Development of the Caroline Economic Development Corporation.

With a county population of roughly 33,000 (the fifth lowest in the state) in a wholly rural area, employers find that workers and public officials are genuinely friendly, easily accessible and innovative problem solvers, Visintainer said.

“Our agricultural roots have led to a workforce that’s innovative and great at problem solving. We call it ‘farm boy ingenuity.’ Figuring out how to get the most out of a piece of equipment is in our blood, and our manufacturers and tech-based companies love that,” Visintainer said.

Workforce development is a priority for county officials, who are engaging public schools and manufacturers in an Advanced Manufacturing Professionals (AMP) program, where students get a firsthand look at what it takes to land a job in various industries.

Incoming businesses can find a soft landing at the county’s five industrial, business and technology parks, including Federalsburg Industrial ParkFrank M. Adams Industrial ParkCaroline Industrial ParkDenton Industrial Park and Mid-Shore Technology Park. The Caroline Economic Development Corporation also promotes county-sponsored small business loans and offers free marketing services to any business involved in tourism and hospitality.

Because Caroline County is a priority funding area, businesses may qualify for project tax credits of up to $5 million and start-up tax credits of up to $500,000 through the state’s One Maryland Tax Credit, with a job creation minimum of just 25 new, full-time positions. Additional state-sponsored tax credit programs can be found through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Caroline County? Visit the Caroline Economic Development Corporation here.

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Port of Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 6, 2014) –  Governor Martin O’Malley joined more than 300 Maryland business leaders last night at the 18th Annual World Trade Center Institute’s International Business Leadership Awards and announced that Maryland’s trade exports climbed to a record $11.8 billion in 2013. Trade to countries that Maryland has strategically targeted, like United Arab Emirates and Brazil, grew by 39 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Key merchandise export categories include transportation equipment; chemicals; computer and electronic products; machinery manufactures; and waste and scrap. Maryland’s strong performance in 2013 helped the U. S. reach an all-time record for exports of U.S. goods and services, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013 and supporting nearly 10 million American jobs.

“The continued increase in Maryland exports, along with the Port of Baltimore hitting record cargo levels and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport growing its international passenger traffic, demonstrates that Maryland remains a fierce global competitor,” said Governor O’Malley. “Ultimately, our strength and global competitiveness depends on our willingness to make the investments that a modern economy requires to create jobs.”

“Exporting is paying off for many Maryland businesses that continue to ‘make locally and sell globally,’ said Bill Burwell, Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Baltimore. “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers reside outside of the United States. If your business is not exporting, it’s time to get on board—because not selling globally is just like leaving money on the table. We can help you navigate the avenues of exporting.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, Governor O’Malley presented the Governor’s International Award to Ronald Peterson, President of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. In addition to the Governor’s Award, there are also seven awardees of WTCI’s International Business Leadership Awards: Domino Sugar – Stuart FitzGibbon, Refinery Manager; Honest Tea – Seth Goldman, Cofounder, President, & TeaEO; Institute for Genome Sciences – Claire Fraser, Director; KEYW – Len Moodispaw, President & CEO; MedImmune – Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President; Phenix Technologies – Frank Vitéz, President; and Prometric – Michael Brannick, President & CEO.

To boost the State’s exports and help companies take advantage of global trade opportunities, Governor O’Malley launched the Maryland Export Initiative in 2010 to complement President Obama’s National Export Initiative. In 2012, Maryland was awarded a total of $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase the number and amount of Export MD grants, a State program that provides funding to small and mid-sized businesses to help them market their products and services overseas. As a result of the increase in funding, 89 Maryland small businesses have benefitted from the program, enabling them to add a combined 400 new jobs and generate more than $180 million in increased export sales. 

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State’s international outreach. In 2011, the Governor led two historic economic development missions – one to China, South Korea and Vietnam and one to India – that netted a combined $145 million in trade and investment deals for the State and the companies that were part of the delegation. In 2013, the Governor led a trade mission to Brazil, which resulted in EMS S/A, Brazil’s largest domestic pharmaceutical company, announcing its new U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County and plans to invest $200 million into the new operation.

The State has a number of foreign trade offices in targeted countries, including China (Shanghai), Israel (Tel Aviv), France (Paris), Africa (Nigeria); India, Russia, South Korea (Seoul), Taiwan (Taipei), Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City), Brazil, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). With the exception of the offices in China and Israel, all the State’s foreign offices operate on a contingency basis with no up-front cost to taxpayers.

Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit

Catch up on the latest Maryland business news:

Catch up on the latest Maryland business news: