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Small Biz Bulletin - May 2024

Maria Martinez

Message from Special Secretary Martinez

Celebrating Small Business Month: Honoring Maryland's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Every May, the nation celebrates Small Business Month to recognize the critical role small businesses play in our business community. With 31.7 million small businesses across the United States, over 650,000 have chosen Maryland as their base. Accounting for 99.5% of all businesses in the state, these enterprises are undoubtedly the backbone of Maryland's economy and the unsung heroes of the American Dream.

Drawing from my personal experience, I understand both the challenges and rewards of the entrepreneurial journey. It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to acknowledge the resilience of Maryland's small business owners and their supporters. Today's entrepreneurs face tremendous challenges, but thankfully, they have the backing of several public and private organizations committed to their success. Notable supporters include the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Maryland Small Business Development Centers, and the Maryland Women’s Business Center, among others. These organizations provide essential services such as coaching, training, and access to capital, supporting our entrepreneurial community daily.

Maryland prides itself on its diversity. Recognized as the most diverse state on the East Coast and home to three of the country's most diverse cities, Maryland's equitable and inclusive environment makes it an ideal place for business ownership. Research indicates that diverse perspectives enhance creativity and drive innovation. It is no surprise that a Lendio study ranked Maryland as the #2 state in the nation for minority entrepreneurs to succeed.

The journey of starting and growing a small business requires immense resilience and tenacity. This Small Business Month, I celebrate each of you and extend my gratitude for choosing Maryland as your place to thrive.


Maria Martinez

Special Secretary

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

As we celebrate both Military Appreciation and Small Business Months in May, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs is pleased to host the 2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast on May 15, 2024 at Prince George's Community College. Major General Janeen L. Birckhead, Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard, will deliver the keynote address and Secretary Anthony Woods of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs will provide an update on Maryland's Year of the Military Family initiative. In addition, Special Secretary Maria Martinez will present four citations from Governor Wes Moore to outstanding veteran business owners. Guests will enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast and receive valuable information about federal, state, and private sector resources for veteran entrepreneurs. Winners of the regional Veteran Shark Tank will also be announced. Advance registration is required and only a limited number of seats remain.

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

FSK Bridge Response Website

FSK Bridge Collapse Response Website

Governor Wes Moore recently launched the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Response Website. This comprehensive online tool connects visitors to government, business, philanthropic, and community resources to provide immediate relief and support for those whose livelihoods and businesses have been affected by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. Content on the site has been curated to assist workers and businesses in identifying resources available to them. It serves as a central location where all programs and resources are being shared. Visit this site for details on these state programs:

Maryland Department of Commerce's Port of Baltimore Emergency
Assistance Program

Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development's Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Port of Baltimore Worker Retention Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Port of Baltimore Emergency Worker Support Program

Comptroller of Maryland's Business Tax Payments Waiver (Through May 31st)

Comptroller of Maryland's International Fuel Tax Association Requirements Waiver
(through May 31st)

Maryland Insurance Administration Virtual Disaster Center


Key Bridge Rebuild
VIRTUAL Industry Forum 

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)
will host a virtual industry forum for rebuilding of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on May 7 at 2 pm. During the forum, MDTA representatives will discuss the anticipated Progressive Design Build (PDB) process with potential consultants, contractors, and subcontractors to share current information on the pending Request for Proposals (RFP). Information on how to apply for federal certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) will also be provided. The RFP is expected to be released by the end of May. MDTA is committed to providing opportunities for participation by our minority and disadvantaged business communities. Together, rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge will reflect MDTA's culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Key Bridge Rebuild Virtual Industry Forum


Our Team is Growing

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs is pleased to welcome Caryn Brandon to our team. With a background in accounting, Caryn is a seasoned professional and innovative thinker. Her career in the accounting field began in California where she prepared budgets and financial statements, performed audits, managed contracts, and conducted data analysis. This entrepreneur also founded a non-profit tech program for underserved youth. Since moving to Maryland in 2021, Caryn has worked for the Howard County Economic Development Authority and the Maryland Department of Labor. She is also currently volunteering as the interim finance director for the Family Tree in Baltimore. In her new role as an MBE compliance manger, Caryn will collect and analyze data, develop best practices, implement regulations, and ensure the Minority Business Enterprise Program is performing across 72 participating agencies and units. Welcome Caryn! 

Tracie Bolden

From the Desk of the MBE Ombudsman

The MBE Ombudsman unit officially started under the Moore-Miller administration, in January 2024. Primarily, the unit works with prime contractors, MBEs, and state agencies to resolve
issues that arise during contract performance, develops policies and guidance to assist agencies in implementing the MBE Program, and conducts training and outreach for the purpose of improving compliance to MBE Program rules and regulations. The unit is already busy carrying out this important work and recently expanded to include an MBE Ombudsman compliance manager. Tracie Bolden joined the MBE Ombudsman unit, within the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, in mid-April and will serve a pivotal role in helping to promote a culture change among stakeholders of the MBE Program through education and outreach, policy changes, advocacy, and support of both state personnel and minority and women-owned businesses. Tracie has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland and has extensive proficiency in contract negotiations, vendor management, process improvement, change management, and regulatory compliance. She is an inventive and experienced management professional who loves to think outside the box. Her unique perspective and skillset will be invaluable as we focus on target areas for process and performance improvement. Welcome Tracie!

TIPS Tight View

Free Small Business Training

Gain an insightful understanding of the state's procurement processes and improve your core competencies by attending our T.I.P.S. (Training and Insights for Procurement Success) Small Business Webinar Series. We offer two free classes every month on topics carefully curated to help you learn to compete with confidence. If you want to do business with the State of Maryland, our T.I.P.S. webinar series is a must. There is no cost to participate, just register in advance to receive the participation link.  

Social Media

We Want You!

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs continually shares information curated specifically for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses on
our social media channels. We'll inspire you with our #MotivationMonday series and connect you to a broad range of small business resources, events, and training programs. Please join our social media community and follow us today. 


See You There.4

Our team is actively participating in events throughout Maryland. You'll find us at
these events 
in May. Click on the links to get all the details and join us!

Events Calendar


Stay connected to the many opportunities for training, networking, and business development that are taking place during live events and on virtual platforms. Here is a highlight of some of the events coming up this month.

05/07/2024 - Speed Lending:  Access to Funding For Your Business (Annapolis)
05/07/2024 - Speed Lending:  Access to Funding for Your Business (Frederick)
05/08/2024 - Profit Driven Approach:  Pay Yourself First
05/13/2024 - Building a LinkedIn Profile that Attracts Customers
05/14/2024 - How to Write a One-Page Business Plan
05/14/2024 - SHE Means Business
05/15/2024 - Trademark Basics
05/22/2024 - Google Analytics for Small Businesses - How to Improve Your Website Traffic
05/28/2024 - Start & Scale a 7-Figure Cleaning Business
05/29/2024 - Move Beyond the Elevator Pitch
05/30/2024 - Selling, Hiring and Working with Independent Contractors

Check out our curated list of small business events online at


Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong

Leave No One Behind - As a unit of the Executive Department, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects members of the small, minority, women, and veteran business communities to greater economic opportunities. Learn more by visiting our website at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov and connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn, and X (formerly Twitter).

FORBES: Entrepreneurship is Core to Civil Rights: A Conversation With National Urban League President And CEO Marc H. Morial

By: Rhett Buttle

  • Founded in 1910, the National Urban League (NUL) now has over 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 36 states and Washington, D.C., that are dedicated to helping African-Americans and others in underserved communities achieve their highest true social parity, economic self-reliance, power, and civil rights. NUL supports small business & entrepreneurship among historically underserved communities as a key part of their agenda. 

Read the full article here.

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearing on:

Improving Access to Capital in Underserved Communities: The Community Advantage Program, Microloans, and other SBA Initiatives



Mr. Jon Gaines, Vice President, Business Services & Finance, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

Mr. Nick Schwellenbach, Senior Investigator, Project on Government Oversight

Mr. Robert Villarreal, Chief External Affairs Officer, Momentus Capital-CDC Small Business Finance

Ms. Annemarie Murphy, Executive Vice President, President of SBA Lending, First Bank of the Lake

Summary: The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on Improving Access to Capital in Underserved Communities: The Community Advantage Program, Microloans, and other SBA Initiatives. Members and witnesses discussed the need for better oversight and support of SBA lending programs to better serve entrepreneurs in underserved communities. The hearing demonstrated bipartisan support for increasing the SBA’s resources to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, however, both parties agree that the SBA must take care to implement proper guardrails to prevent fraud, and bias in lending, and to conduct proper oversight of its lenders. Members also discussed the SBA’s recent proposal to lift the moratorium on the Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) program, and while many were in support of the rule, Members and witnesses stressed a need to ensure fintech lenders are held to the same standards as other SBA lenders if they were to gain SBLC licenses.

Opening Statements

Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD): Access to capital is the lifeblood of any business but is even more critical for small businesses. Small businesses in underserved communities have lacked access to capital at disproportionate rates. While large banks approved 60% of loans sought by white borrowers, businesses of color faced acceptance rates of between 29%-50% depending on their racial identity. The SBA 7(a) loan program remains a widely recognized tool to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs. This year the SBA approved over 47,000 7(a) loans and many of these borrowers would be unable to access capital elsewhere. However, of those 7(a) loans, only 4% went to Black business owners and 15% went to women. The Community Advantage (CA) program can bridge this gap and we must make it permanent; I have introduced legislation to do so and have high hopes for the legislation in the next Congress. Compared to 7(a), Black business owners received 20% of CA loans and women received 32%. The CA program therefore does an excellent job of addressing the credit gap and is a key tool to providing capital access for entrepreneurs who need it most. The SBA microloan program also provides credit to underbanked entrepreneurs. Microloan borrowers have the most difficult time accessing capital elsewhere and reported they were unable to find financing from traditional banks had it not been for a CA lender. I support SBA’s efforts to level the playing field for small businesses through recent rulemaking initiatives, however guardrails are essential in these programs to protect borrowers and lenders in the program; we need to ensure the SBA’s programs are helping small businesses as intended.


T: 202-971-3450 W: PRISMGROUP.GLOBAL

Become a USBC Member

Watch Now! USBC 2022 Policy Breakfast During Congressional Black Caucus Week

2022 USBC Policy Breakfast - Congressional Black Caucus Week

On Tuesday, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. kicked off Congressional Black Caucus week with its annual policy breakfast. The 2022 USBC Policy Brunch was very insightful and informative with special remarks from Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Emanuel Clever II, and USBC Chairman of the Board Charles O'Neal. 

USBC President & CEO Ron Busby Sr. delivered his President Address on the BLACKprint - a set of principles that guide the organization's policy agenda.

Guests enjoyed conversations on The Future of Digital Currency with Cleve Mesidor and The New Black Commerce moderated by Howard Jean (CEO Black Meta Agency), Erin Cohee (VP Digital Innovation, OneUnited Bank), Courtney Robinson (Global Head of Financial Inclusion & Policy Development Block) and LaKisha Greenwade. 

The event was made possible by sponsors Crypto.com, Block, NCTA, and Caesars. 

Thank you to all of our sponsors and attendees. USBC members can watch the broadcast of the 2022 USBC Policy Breakfast on Friday, October 7 at 1:00 PM EST via USBC Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels.

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. | programs@usblackchambers.org | usblackchambers.org

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GBBCC Participates in Roundtable with SBA USBC in March

Leaving the Black Business Footprint at the DC Capital - USBC National Conference, July 15, 2022,

(left to right):  Alicea Gay, the Voice USBC's ByBlack Initiative, Debra Keller-Greene, GBBCC Board Chair, and USBC's VP Alisa Joseph.  

Maryland State Directory of New Hire


Report new hires

Employers must re-report returning employees as new hires.

All new and returning employees must be reported within 20 days of hire or returning to work.

New hire reporting helps children and families get the child support they need. 
It also helps detect fraud in the unemployment system. 

Reporting new hires online has many benefits:

  • Fast and secure online entry or upload
  • Reports are more accurate, reducing the need to resend reports later

  • It's FREE! No more paper, postage or other material costs!

The Maryland State Directory of New Hire is available to take your new hire reports via our website MD-newhire.com

Phone: (888) 634-4737 | Fax: (888) 657-3534


State of Maryland Financial Resources & Services 

Department of Human Services Resources & Financial Assistance



The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) is the state’s primary social service provider. Our mission is to aggressively pursue opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide prevention services, and protect vulnerable children and adults.

DHSs website, https://dhs.maryland.gov/, hosts a wealth of information about the agency’s many services and programs, as well as additional resources, for Maryland families and individuals in need of assistance:

• DHS offers several financial assistance options to support individuals and families experiencing trying times. If eligible, you can receive cash assistance for rent, utilities, and many other emergency financial burdens.


• You do not have to weather the tough times alone. DHS services include, financial, medical, and more. Learn more at  https://dhs.maryland.gov/weathering-tough-times/.

• The Department of Human Services is providing updated information to Marylanders regarding our services, operations, and other important resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay informed by visiting our Coronavirus Covid-19 Resources web page at https://dhs.maryland.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-resources/.

myDHR/myMDTHINK Consumer Portal

Marylanders can get information, apply for DHS programs and services, and check the status of applications online at  mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/dashboardClient/#/home

SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, helps low-income households buy healthy food. Click here to download the Income Guidelines. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.usPeople who have little or no money may qualify for SNAP benefits right away.
TemporaryCash Assistance (TCA) TCA provides temporary cash assistance to families with dependent children. TCA also prepares participants for independence through work programs. Click here to download the Income Guidelines. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/ to file your application.
Officof Home Energy Assistance Programs (OHEP) OHEP offers help to Marylanders who are facing potential energy shut-offs or having difficulty paying their energy bills. You do not need a turn-off notice to qualify for assistance; eligibility for energy assistance is based on your income. Please also contact your Local Home Energy Program Office at https://dhs.maryland.gov/office-of-home-energy-programs/local-home-energy-program-office/  to speak to a dedicated OHEP specialist who will guide you through all your options for energy assistance. Learn more about energy assistance at  https://dhs.maryland.gov/office-of-home-energy-programs/
Emergency Cash Assistance to Families with Children (EAFC) EAFC provides cash assistance to families who have at least one child under the age of 21 living with them, and need emergency paying rent, utilities, or other urgent bills. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/ to file your application.

 Full PDF Download: State of Maryland Resources.pdf

Baltimore City Procurement Database- Interested in doing business in Baltimore? Click here to learn how you can be a city contractor. 

Anne Arundel County Procurement Database- Anne Arundel County has their new contractor database up and running. This database will be a resource to all the agencies when looking for small businesses for procurement opportunities. The Anne Arundel County eProcurement system will be known as P.O.R.T. (Procurement Operations Resource Technology). Click here to learn more. 

State of Maryland Procurement Database- EMMA is the new E Maryland Marketplace Advantage website for procurement opportunities. You can see contract opportunities and contact instructions to help you get connected to the right people. Click here to learn more

MDOT Certification- Ever consider doing business with the State of Maryland? If you have plans to grow, the certification process could open up new opportunities for new revenue. Click here to learn more.

Baltimore Demographics- Ever wonder where to find info on demographics in Baltimore? Click here to see this summary by the Census Bureau.

Maryland Wealth- Interested in seeing stats on Maryland's wealth and its tax revenue for each city and county? Click here to view the report from the Department of Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis.

Connect with City Leadership- Want to attend a Board of Estimates meeting or Baltimore City Council meeting to hear from our elected officials? Check out the schedule at: http://www.baltimorecitycouncil.com/complete-calendar

U.S. Economy- Interested in how the U.S. economy is doing? Here is the most current information from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: https://www.bea.gov/news/glance

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.

Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) 6 and 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. 1325 Bedford Avenue, Suite 5941; Pikesville, MD 21282-7510

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