ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball this week hosted his 2nd Annual Small Business Summit at the Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia. The multi-faceted summit focused on small businesses seeking public procurement and supplier diversity opportunities, while navigating current business challenges. Attendees also had the opportunity to network with other businesses, contracting officers and other government representatives. Pictures from the event can be found here.
Small businesses in Howard County have faced several obstacles over the past few years, from the pandemic to supply chain issues to staffing shortages and more. Howard County employment is at 97 percent of its pre-pandemic level. In June, we saw our largest month over month labor force recovery since the pandemic began, with nearly 4,000 workers coming into the workforce. This summit is an incredible opportunity to connect with other business owners, learn more about our procurement process, and understand how to access capital. We look forward to engaging the thousands of small businesses in our region and working together to ensure a strong and prosperous business community.
The event featured a keynote panel and two breakout sessions focused on Access to Capital and Procurement. Featured speakers were Denise O'Neill, Executive Coach & Owner of The Alternative Board, Funlayo Alabi, CEO & Co-Founder of Shea Radiance, Robert Hooten President of Hooten Construction, and Dr. Josh Funk Founder & CEO of Rehab 2 Perform.
As a county comprised predominately of small businesses, it is important that we continue to support our small employers and startups with the tools they need to grow and develop their businesses and overall acumen. Operating a business in this post pandemic environment is complex and it is important that we continue to share best practices with small business.
"We look forward to thanking businesses for choosing Howard County as their home and participating in Business Appreciation Week," said the HCEDA CEO Lawrence F. Twele. “It is a great opportunity to not only celebrate our strong business community, but to also connect businesses to the resources they need to be successful.”
“Small businesses are still struggling through issues caused by the pandemic- workforce challenges, rising costs, supply chain disruptions and more. Our organizations are excited to work together to provide resources and opportunities to the county’s small businesses through programs like the Small Business Summit,” said Central Maryland Chamber President & CEO Kristi Simon.