ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) CEO Carim Khouzami today unveiled a new public-private partnership that will provide $500,000 in grant funding for small business and entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic. Photos of the event can be found here

In the latest example of the County’s practice of effective and collaborative use of rescue funds, the County is providing $250,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, which is being matched by BGE and will be used immediately to support growing businesses. This week, Howard County was praised by President Biden for its use of ARP funding, leveraging partnerships with private organizations to support jobs and our local economy. 

Relief funding has been a critical on our road to economic recovery, and as we look towards a third year living with COVID-19, we cannot our foot off the gas. Now is a perfect time to invest in the thinkers, innovators, and changemakers who will drive our community forward. We’re also supporting our Chamber organizations, often on the frontlines of serving our small and emerging businesses, to provide quality resources and support to the nearly 10,000 businesses who call Howard County home.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Grant funding will target underserved early-stage entrepreneurs and startups, women of color entrepreneurs, and local businesses in Howard County:  

  • $125,00 to HoCo Higher, an Entrepreneur Accelerator Program  
  • $150,000 to The 3rd, which supports women of color entrepreneurs  
  • $70,000 to the Black Women Entrepreneur Program with TEDCO; and 
  • $150,000 to local chamber organizations, including the Howard County Chamber, the Central Maryland Chamber, the Downtown Columbia Partnership, the Ellicott City Partnership, and Visit Howard County.    
  • $5,000 to the Community Foundation of Howard County 

“BGE is proud to work with our Howard County partners to provide small businesses grants that will help them thrive as we come out of the pandemic. These small businesses are foundational to our region’s economy and energize their communities, so anything we can do to support them is a worthwhile cause,” said BGE's president and CEO Carim Khouzami. “Investing in the community is a priority for BGE and efforts like this also strengthen our partnerships with the customers, businesses, and communities that we serve.”

“Howard County and other Maryland jurisdictions are home to many women entrepreneurs; our state has the highest rate per capita of women-owned businesses in the country,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “Unfortunately, these women entrepreneurs only receive a small proportion of available venture capital. Our goal at TEDCO is to help level the playing field by increasing access to funding, resources, and networking opportunities for under-represented entrepreneurs. Today’s announcement of the Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence pilot program here in Howard County is a crucial step to reach those goals in Maryland."

“The 3rd is excited to be recognized as a recipient of the ARP funds grant from the Howard County Government,” said The 3rd Founder and CEO Laura Bacon. “This grant is brought about by the work of many and will provide for many. We believe that community is the radical solution to our economic development and social justice challenges. Our community of women of color entrepreneurs has brought us to this point and we can't wait to take this momentum into the future.”

“Now more than ever, it is critical to provide training for businesses and entrepreneurs so they can position and reposition for a changing economy,” said Howard County Economic Development CEO Larry Twele. “The Economic Development Authority is proud to be able to support County Executive Ball’s efforts and provide these services through the Maryland Innovation Center.”

“The Howard County Chamber is proud of the longstanding partnership we have had with the County Executive’s Office and BGE,” said Howard County Chamber President/CEO Leonardo McClarty. “Their constant support enables us to back emerging and growing small businesses with quality programming and technical assistance throughout Howard County.”

“The Chamber is honored to receive this generous grant, and we look forward to putting it to good use to support all of the incredibly resilient businesses of Howard County,” said Kristi Simon President & CEO of Central Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

“The Downtown Columbia Partnership is grateful for this second round of Business Grant funding which will be allocated to marketing our local businesses, especially restaurants, which are the hallmark of a good Downtown experience for most people,” said Phillip Dodge, Executive Director of the Downtown Columbia Partnership.

“It is much-welcomed news that Visit Howard County will be receiving these funds which will, in turn, help us better address the current needs of Howard County’s hospitality businesses,” said Visit Howard County Executive Director Amanda Hof.

"The Ellicott City Partnership is delighted to receive these much-needed funds that will help us confront the ongoing economic needs of our constituents in Old Ellicott City's historic business district,” said Jillian Joseph Executive Director for the Ellicott City Partnership. 

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