Maryland is set to have its own Commission for Small Business. During a meeting of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in Cambridge on November 5th, Governor Martin O'Malley outlined his plans for establishing Maryland's first commission for small business. The Governor spoke during the Chamber's annual Business Policy Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort.
Governor O'Malley acknowledged small businesses at the backbone of the country, let alone Maryland. The state's small businesses reportedly employ more than 1 million people and are therefore critical to it's economic recovery. Maryland is noted as one of the few states to report growth last year, including gaining 1,400 construction jobs. O'Malley also touted Maryland's unemployment rate of 7.2% as being 25% lower than the national average.
To continue the positive trend of small business in Maryland, the Governor outlined a 10 point strategy for strengthening small business in the state, with the new commission being one of the strategy points in his overall plan. The full fledge commission is actually an expansion of the Small Business Task force started earlier this year. The strategy also calls for one uniform loan application for small businesses applying for state financing and a waiver of the state administrative loan fees, including those for the Maryland Small Business Developing Financing Authority. The Authority assists socially or economically disadvantaged business people in starting businesses.
Growth is also planned for the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program, which increases opportunities for minority-owned companies and wants state delegates to lobby and work for more federal money and contracts. Already, the state has experienced a 30% increase in MBE participation in 2009 over the previous year. Other initiatives to be addressed by the new commission include growing the number of businesses in the state's Health Insurance Partnership, extending the Small Business Reserve program for another 6 years, and looking for assistance in opening up more federal procurement and contracting opportunities.
O'Malley stated, "I hope that you have found in this administration people who listen, people who are professional, people who understand their jobs to support you, people who understand that you are the engine that creates opportunity and makes our state a great place."
To automatically receive notification of other articles on Maryland Small Business, click on the Subscribe to Email link found here.