Did you know that small businesses in Maryland make up more than 97 percent of all employers in the state and employ 1.1 million of the state's workforce? This week, we join with our economic development partners around the U.S. to celebrate National Small Business Week, which recognizes the important contributions of our entrepreneurs, innovators and small business owners. Maryland has a wealth of tools to help our small businesses grow and thrive and I invite you to learn more about how we can help take your business to the next level.
If you are interested in starting a small business, or need guidance on growing your small business, I invite you to contact our Office of Small Business Resources at 410-767-6391 or visit commerce.maryland.gov. Our dedicated team can help you navigate local, state and federal government regulations and processes; identify and connect to state and federal resources and financing programs; and understand permitting and licensing regulations.
Commerce also has a toolbox full of loan and financing options and other programs that can help grow your business.
One of our most popular and successful programs is the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Loan Fund, which receives 1.5 percent of video lottery terminal revenue from Maryland casinos to make loans to small businesses – retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, and IT firms – across the state. At least 50 percent of the fund's allocations must go to small, minority, and women-owned businesses within a 10-mile radius of Maryland's casinos. The remaining funds benefit small, minority, and women-owned businesses elsewhere in Maryland.
With its Contract Financing, Guaranty Fund, Surety Bond, and Equity Participation Investment programs, the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority assists small and minority-owned companies that cannot obtain traditional bank financing.
Check out Advance Maryland, a partnership with the National Center for Economic Gardening, which helps second-stage entrepreneurs propel their businesses to the next level. Working with a team of highly-skilled research specialists, selected companies develop recommendations and next steps to achieve the next level of growth.
And our partners at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development oversee a great program called Neighborhood BusinessWorks, which provides financing to new or expanding small businesses for a variety of expenditures, including machinery and equipment, real estate acquisition and other costs related to expansion.
Thanks to all our small businesses for your hard work to grow your business and make Maryland's economy even stronger and more vibrant.