ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today provided a report on the strong State of Business in Howard County, noting that the county’s economy is recovering because of prudent fiscal policies and a focus on jobs of the future in industries such as cybersecurity.
The State of Business in Howard County is more than strong. It is resilient, it is robust, and it is relentlessly moving ahead to embrace the future. I truly believe the potential of Howard County is unlimited – as long as we continue to target out resources, remove barriers, and make our government more effective. Our fiscal strength, our pandemic response, and our vision for future jobs have created the right framework. We know that when businesses advance, so does our community.
Photos of the event can be found here.
During the address, Ball:
- Announced that a new round of applications will be accepted for the HoCo Higher Program, which assists entrepreneurs, especially those who are traditionally underserved, access important resources and support.
- Reviewed the impact of Howard County’s AAA bond rating, which was affirmed last week by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Ball said that Standard & Poor’s finding that Howard County has “very strong management” and “comprehensive policies and practices” means that Howard County can invest in roads, schools, parks and public safety with minimal impact on taxpayers.
- Provided an update on the Howard County Local Business Initiative, which keeps local government spending in the community through preferences for certified local businesses. Howard County now has 300 certified local businesses, which received $15 million in government spending in the past two quarters, up from 100 firms and $4 million in spending in 2018.
- Touted Howard County’s transformational Maryland Cyber Workforce Solutions plan, which is being developed through a $500,000 federal Build Back Better Grant that will position the county as a national center for cybersecurity jobs. The final plan could leverage up to $100 million in federal funds for cyber workforce development.
Ball also discussed efforts to assist emerging businesses through a Catalyst Loan Fund. During the past two years, the county approved 33 catalyst loans totaling $6.2 million, creating and retaining more than 110 jobs.
Ball ended his remarks with a look towards the future, noting over the next 20 years, 60,000 jobs will be added to Howard County. He noted that the county’s employment growth, at 6.2%, is twice the state average and emphasized the need to invest now in emerging jobs – specifically cybersecurity and technology.
“The events of the past year have been trying for the Howard County business community,” said Howard County Chamber President/CEO Leonardo McClarty. “Yet, our employers are resilient and innovative as evidenced by the successes they achieved in 2021.”
“As we emerge from the most recent setbacks of the pandemic, we applaud the resiliency of our business owners who build the strength of our local economy,” said Howard County Economic Development Authority CEO Larry Twele. “With the continued support of County Executive Ball, we are eager to help accelerate our entrepreneurs and offer more programs and services at the Maryland Innovation Center in addition to growing our economy even more through our business retention and attraction efforts.”