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Small Biz Bulletin

May 20, 2020

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

Finding a New Starting Line

We like to use data to decipher the past and predict the future. In today's reality, performance prior to the pandemic cannot help us devise a future. "Business as usual" no longer exists and entrepreneurs need to rethink the theory (aka ideas) behind their business and take proactive steps toward redesigning a future within the current context. When designing a theory, you must independently determine what you WANT, and what is TRUE. On the premise of those two foundations, you are able to develop a strategy and enumerate tactics that can get to what you want within the context of what is true. Take an unfiltered look at your industry. Determine what is driving your sector and strive to identify the relationships among the variables. Despite the many challenges, you must take some kind of action to promulgate change. It is inevitable that you will make mistakes along the way, so accept that from the onset. Now is the time to act swiftly, fail quickly, learn intensely, then do it all again and again. You will gain valuable lessons from the repeating patterns that are sure to emerge. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and you cannot see the finish line today. Before you bolt out of the starting gate, have your theory, strategy, and tactics well defined.

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary

For Your Business

Business Pledge Header

Back to Business Web Page

Kudos to our colleagues at the Maryland Department of Commerce who constructed a BACK TO BUSINESS web page for Maryland's business community. It provides businesses of all sizes with updates and best practices as we follow the implementation of Governor Hogan's Maryland Strong:  Roadmap to Recovery plan. Stage one is underway with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions to make decisions regarding the timing of re-openings. It is important that businesses consult guidance issued by their local jurisdiction. As we get back to business, our top priority is the safety of workers and customers alike. You'll find general and industry-specific best practices on this valuable website along with a link to the Maryland Stong: Back to Business Pledge. Please print and display the signed pledge at your place of business. Bookmark this important website and visit often. Things are changing at a rapid pace and it's important to have reliable and trusted sources of information like the Back to Business web page. 

Back to Business



eMMA Vendor Training Videos

If you're interested in doing business with the State of Maryland, you must know how to navigate the eMMA platform with proficiency. eMMA (aka eMaryland Marketplace Advantage) is our online procurement portal that was launched in July, 2019. Many vendors are still learning to operate within this new procurement tool. Take advantage of the online training and Help Desk videos to help you maintain your vendor profile and identify/pursue contracting opportunities. "Submitting Electronic Bids" is one of the most popular videos currently available. New videos are being added regularly, so visit often.

eMMA Vendor Training and Support



COVID-19 Translated Documents

Communication is important everyday, and critical during a crisis. Language barriers can put some communities at risk. To ensure important health information is available across the state, the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives and its ethnic commissioners worked in coordination with multiple state agencies to translate Frequently Asked Questions along with executive orders and guidance in more than 10 different languages. The online web page provides 24/7access to diverse communities throughout Maryland. At the federal level, the U.S. Small Business Administration is providing information about economic recovery programs in nearly 20 different languages. Please help spread the word and share these vital resources across your personal and professional networks.

Maryland Translated COVID-19 Information

SBA's Coronavirus Recovery Information in Other Languages

Eduardo Hayden

Open for Business and Working from Home

Introducing Eduardo Hayden

As the Small Business Outreach Manager for the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, the concept of “outreach” during a pandemic has taken on a completely different form. We quickly found ourselves having to shift from hosting events, to guiding and connecting panicked business owners to COVID-19 resources at the federal, state, and local levels. We have experienced a tectonic shift in all aspects of our lives. Taking this into account, we have had to re-evaluate how to effectively deliver outreach in a new reality where networking and connecting is purely through a virtual realm. Since the start of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we have been participating in webinars with our resource partners around the state, such as the Small Business Administration’s Baltimore District Office, the Small Business Development Center, and the Maryland Women’s Business Center. Through all of these interactions we have learned the true measure of the guidance we offer the small, minority, women and veteran business community about building core competencies, maintaining a solid financial foundation, and having an insightful understanding of how to do business with your customers. All of these factors will no doubt have an even greater impact in the post-COVID economy. Today, the meaning of “together” takes on a new emphasis, where as an adjective it means - appropriately prepared, organized, or balanced: composed in mind or manner. We are in this together, and I believe ongoing outreach programs will keep us together as we successfully roll out implementation of Governor Hogan's Roadmap to Recovery.

COVID-19 Business Resources

Roadmap to Recovery

Maryland is OPEN for Business. As a coordinating office for Governor Larry Hogan, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects small businesses, including those owned by minorities, women, and veterans to greater economic opportunities.  Learn more by visiting our website at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @goMDsmallbiz.

USBC Alongside Advocacy and Industry Organizations

Urge Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to Set Aside

$10 Billion to Provide Relief for Business Owners of Color

“As the Treasury Secretary, you must use your authority to ensure that the structural issues with the PPP do not continue to exclude businesses of color.” 

A coalition of civil rights, faith, and community development organizations sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin urging him to set-aside $10 billion out of the $310 billion in replenished Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for  Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). The coalition also seeks that at least 50% of all the new loan dollars are reserved for small business owners, as the most disadvantaged businesses only have a single employee–the business owner.

CDFIs and MDIs  have the strongest track record of serving borrowers of color and are least likely to be able to access PPP funding under its current structure. The SBA will resume accepting PPP applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“Businesses of color are a substantial source of income and employment in communities of color—accounting for 8.7 million jobs at total annual payroll of $280 billion, and $1.3 trillion in revenue—yet they were almost entirely excluded from the first round of funding in the PPP,” wrote the group. “CDFIs and MDIs have strong track records of lending to underserved businesses as they best understand the needs of small businesses of color and have systems to adequately process loans to them. However, without a specific allocation, the expanded PPP funding will run out before CDFIs and MDIs can access it, thwarting Congressional intent and the overall goals of the program. … As the Treasury Secretary, you must use your authority to ensure that the structural issues with the PPP do not continue to exclude businesses of color. Because structural issues remain with the new SBA PPP, businesses of color will fail to get their fair share unless dedicated funding is provided for CDFIs and MDIs.”

Additionally, the group urged Secretary Mnuchin to implement and require a robust data collection process for all lenders. The group stressed that transparency is essential to the PPP program and that data shows the public which businesses are being served with public dollars. Reports have estimated that more than 90% of the original $349 billion, which was initially appropriated in the CARES Act, went to wealthier and non-diverse businesses.

The following is a list of organizations who signed the letter to Secretary Mnuchin:

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

American Business Immigration Coalition

Association for Enterprise Opportunity

CDFI Coalition

Center for Responsible Lending

Community Development Bankers Association

Community Development Venture Capital Alliance

Hope Credit Union


Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Main Street Alliance


NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

NALCAB – National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

National CAPACD

Natural Capital Investment Fund

National Community Investment Fund

National Urban League

National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.

Opportunity Finance Network

Page 30 Coalition

Partners for Common Good


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

April 28th Update: Democrats have started a list of priorities for the next Coronavirus relief bill. Among others, they are seeking more assistance for state and local governments, food assistance, and funding for vote-by-mail.

In contrast, Senate Republicans are advocating the inclusion of language to help shield businesses from lawsuits as states begin to reopen their economies. 

Yesterday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) faced technical challenges as the Agency began accepting loan applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

It is reported that by 3:30 p.m. yesterday, the SBA processed 100,000 loans submitted by 4,000 lenders. However, the Department did not say how much of the $310 billion had been allocated through those loans. 

Amid the replenishment of PPP and EDIL, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chairman, Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to the SBA and Department of Treasury urging regulators to issue immediate guidance for the participation of CDFIs and minority depository institutions. The guidance requests include:  

  • Setting aside $2 billion of the $30 billion set-aside for CDFIs and minority depository institutions; 
  • Prioritizing the approval of CDFI and minority depository institutions as eligible lenders; 
  • Reducing the prior lending volume requirement for these institutions; 
  • Establishing safe harbors for these institutions in relation to compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act; and,
  • Outlining parameters for secondary market sales, and facilitating the sale of PPP loans to provide these institutions with the ability to recapitalize and continue making loans to small businesses, including the eligibility of such institutions to access liquidity through the Federal Reserve’s PPP Lending Facility.

To view the full letter, click here.  

April 2020

The Business Break

Your small business matters

We understand there’s a lot facing your business during this challenging time. That’s why The Business Break offers tips on things that can help you stay in contact with your clients and keep moving your business forward. Scroll down to review our helpful resources:

Tech: There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to business technology – what’s right for you?
Social media: 10 tips on using social media to help promote your business.
Coronavirus: Learn about actions you can take to manage risk and sustain your business through the crisis.

Tools for managing your small business

From technology that helps protect vital business systems to tools that automate processes so you’re more efficient – it’s about finding the right fit for you. Get started now with this quick article.

Don’t miss these insights
Payroll - Business Break

10 tips on using social media to help promote your business

Right now, you still have to be able to conduct business without face-to-face interactions. When it comes to social media, it’s more important than ever to have a plan in place and make it work.

Learn more now

Tips to manage risk and sustain your business in the time of Coronavirus

Tips to manage risk and sustain your business in the time of coronavirus.

The coronavirus has changed the small business landscape. We’ve included helpful information about cash liquidity and business planning, as well as keeping your employees and customers safe. Access this info.

Read COVID-19 article

Starting a new business? Looking to grow?
We can get you on the right path. Check out our Learning & Insights resource center!

Read here: https://bmorenews.com/2020/03/11/the-glover-report-carl-stokes-stands-for-black-businesses-in-baltimore/

January 2020

The Business Break

Your small business matters

Hello The Greater Baltimore Black,

This month, The Business Break is looking out for your business with tips on everything from avoiding some common pitfalls to low-cost promotional efforts:

Payroll: We want to help you avoid common payroll mistakes
Finances: Save yourself the headache and keep your business and personal finances separate
Promotions: Check out these suggestions on how to grow your business inexpensively

Scroll down to see what’s most relevant to you:

Payroll pitfalls

6 tips to avoid common payroll mistakes

You got into business because you enjoy what you do, not to do paperwork! But with a little prep and attention, you can avoid time-consuming (and possibly costly) payroll errors.

Don’t miss this list
Finances – Business insights

Keeping business and personal finances separate

There are a lot of advantages to being a small business owner. So, make sure you can take advantage of them by separating out your business finances.

Review insights

Promotions - Promotional efforts

Inexpensive ways to build a small business

You can do a lot to promote your business without spending a ton of money to get it done. We’ve compiled 8 great ideas for you so you can get out there without breaking the budget.

Get ideas now

Starting a new business? Looking to grow?
We can get you on the right path. Check out our Learning & Insights resource center!

Maryland Sick and Safe Leave Information
-by Janice Walker-Emeogo

The law states that leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours that an employee works. An employee is not entitled to accrue sick and safe leave during (1) a 2 week pay period in which the employee worked fewer than 24 total hours; (2) a 1 week pay period if the employee worked fewer than a combined total of 24 hours in the current and immediately preceding pay period; or (3) a pay period in which the employee is paid twice per month and worked fewer than 26 hours in the pay period. The leave hours provided for under the law are the minimum number of hours an employee is entitled to earn and accrue. An employer may provide more leave for its employees.

The Opportunity Zone program is a nationwide initia​tive ​administered by the U.S. Treasury created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Job​s Act. The program provides federal tax incentives for investment in distressed communities over the next 10 years. Areas designated as Opportunity Zones will be able to reap the benefits of capital gains to help redevelop underserved communities.

Visit the website here
to learn more: 

The GBBCC Business Development Committee is following the progress of this initiative to ensure black-owned businesses are engaged in this economic development initiative.  Please review the information below, and if you have any questions about opportunities in any of the Greater Baltimore Regions (Baltimore City, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford Counties), please send your questions to:  gbbchamber@gmail.com

The Opportunity Zone program is a nationwide initiative created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The program provides federal tax incentives for investment in distressed communities over the next 10 years. Areas designated as Opportunity Zones will be able to reap the benefits of capital gains to help redevelop underserved communities.

Of the 149 Census Tracts in Maryland designated as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Treasury, 42 are in Baltimore City. For a list of Census Tracts in Baltimore City designated as Opportunity Zones, please click here. For a map of Opportunity Zones in Baltimore City, please click here.

For a map of all 149 Opportunity Zones, please visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/OpportunityZones.aspx.

For more information about Opportunity Zones, please visit Economic Innovation Group or the U.S. Treasury at https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx.

Water Reclamation Feasibility Study

Weller Development Company, LLC (“Developer”) is seeking qualifications from consultants and engineers who have significant expertise in water reclamation facilities (“Respondent”).
Copyright © 2018 Weller Development Company, All rights reserved. 

Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization. 1325 Bedford Avenue, Suite 5941; Pikesville, MD 21208

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