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County Executive Calvin Ball Hosts Howard County’s First Small Business Summit

County Executive Calvin Ball Hosts Howard County’s First Small Business Summit

October 16, 2019

Media Contact: 
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
JESSUP, MD – Yesterday, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball joined with the Howard County Economic Development Authority and Howard County Chamber of Commerce to host the inaugural Howard County Small Business Summit, drawing 161 attendees representing 145 businesses. The event also featured Jimmy Rhee, Maryland’s Special Secretary of Small, Minority, & Women Business Affairs, as a speaker. The event provided resources and networking opportunities to small, women, minority, veteran and disabled- owned businesses, including information on how to bid and win small business contracts with the government and private industry. This event continues Ball’s record of supporting small and local businesses, following his creation of the first Local Business Certification Workshop in Howard County history. Photos from yesterday’s summit can be found here

“We want to expand opportunity for our small, disabled-owned, minority, women and veteran owned businesses to innovate and thrive here in Howard County, and beyond,” said Ball. “After meeting with many of these businesses, we learned that improved communication, information and resources were needed by these companies. Therefore, it was important to me that we create the first ‘Small Business Summit’ in Howard County to help them succeed. The Howard County government spends an average of $220 million annually on various goods and services. We can help our businesses and entrepreneurs more by engaging them and looking for ways to fulfill our needs by companies right in our own back yard.”

“The Howard County Small Business Summit provided a powerful venue for further informing our business community of the many services available from HCEDA, the Howard County Chamber, and our partners, throughout our county and region,” said Howard County Economic Development Authority CEO Larry Twele. “Over 80 percent of businesses in the county have fewer than 20 employees, making the success of small business pivotal to our local economy. Ensuring awareness of the resources available to small businesses can help turn inspiration into viable enterprise and expand existing ventures into something even greater.”

“Howard County is predominantly a small business county with nearly 80% of our employers having fewer than 25 employees. The Chamber’s membership reflects that as well,” said Howard County Chamber of Commerce President Leonardo McClarty. “Consequently, it is important that we along with our partners in government work together to provide them the necessary resources to grow and expand their businesses.”

The summit was divided into two breakout groups for startups with less than three years of operations and a growth track for businesses with more than three years of operations. 60% of businesses attended the growth track, 40% attended the startup track. Sessions covered topics including funding, procurement procedures, marketing and growth strategies. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to network with other businesses, contracting officers and other government representatives, and to develop relationships with potential partners.

The County’s commitment to expanding opportunities continues to grow. Since 2010, Howard County has been averaging about 20-25% of its total spending with certified Equal Business Opportunity (EBO)/ Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) firms. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, the County’s spending with EBO firms was $59.2 million, up from $47.9 million in the previous year. This includes direct purchases and subcontracting arrangements and represents 21.7% of all prime and subcontracting contracts.