A popular business resource program is opening up a new round of applications for small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses looking to grow in Maryland.
The Inclusive Ventures Program (IVP), managed by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC), helps retain and expand small businesses in the county, while helping these businesses thrive and create jobs to support the local economy.
Applications reviewed and selected to move forward will comprise IVP’s third and fourth cohorts, following two successful rounds in 2021. Each cohort consists of approximately 12 candidates.
Originally announced in January last year, the program has seen high demand from businesses throughout the county. Approximately 150 businesses applied after the initial IVP announcement, leading AAEDC to fill up the Spring and Fall sessions quickly.
“Before we could finish the press conference, we already had applications in the queue,” said AAEDC’s Director of Small, Minority Business & Revitalization Keasha Haythe.
While the program’s resources remain the same, IVP’s first two rounds of businesses had very different needs. In February 2021, the first cohort took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic’s shutdowns.
“We had to make sure our applicants had everything in order to take advantage of COVID-19 relief grant opportunities and help them with accounting,” said Haythe.
The second cohort’s businesses were looking for assistance with their numbers, including determining how many sales were needed in order to hire new employees. All businesses participating in IVP must also meet with law, human resources, and accounting mentors before the seven-week program ends.
“I typically stay in touch with our businesses and follow up every two to three months to see how everything is going,” said Haythe.
Applications for IVP will open on January 24 at 9AM and close on January 31 at 5PM. To learn more, visit aaedc.org/minority-business.