ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), are highlighting business resources and showcasing economic development progress to mark the 11th annual Economic Development Week, sponsored by the Maryland Economic Development Association.
Our business community is on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s critical that we continue to support our businesses and ensure we emerge from this crisis stronger. With the support of federal, state, and county funding and the expertise of our EDA, we’ve provided a vital lifeline to many of our small, local businesses that call Howard County home.
“Economic Development Week is a chance to highlight the importance of a healthy and attractive business climate,” said Larry Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. “The Authority is honored to serve the community to help create opportunities for individuals and grow the business base.”
In recognition of Economic Development Week, the HCEDA is highlighting businesses that have recently relocated or expanded in Howard County:
Bioenergy Devco: Based in Italy, Bioenergy Devco located its U.S. headquarters in Howard County and has been a long-standing contact for HCEDA. HCEDA has provided technical assistance and business support to aid in the completion of the construction of their anaerobic digester that recycles organic waste into renewable natural gas and healthy living soil. The project represents a $35 million capital investment in the county’s green infrastructure and created approximately 30 – 50 jobs, including construction and long-term maintenance and operation positions.
Imperfect Foods: With the help of HCEDA, Imperfect Foods relocated to Howard County and settled into a 110,000 square foot food distribution facility, bringing 250 jobs to the county. Imperfect Foods is a reimagined grocery delivery service that focuses on eliminating food waste. They work on finding a home for the imperfect or “ugly” fruits and vegetables that farms couldn’t sell to grocery stores. This concept was expanded to meat, eggs and dairy, dry goods, household and beauty items.
The Charmery: The Charmery, an ice cream shop that scoops handcrafted, highly original, super premium delicious ice cream, secured a loan from the HCEDA’s Catalyst Loan Fund to assist in the expansion. The Charmery first opened their doors in 2013 in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore and decided to expand and open an Ice Cream Factory and four other shops- with their newest being in the Merriweather District of Downtown Columbia. “The Catalyst Loan Fund was instrumental in providing us the funding for construction and opening expenses – we are thankful that they helped us realize this expansion opportunity”, states Laura Alima, Owner of The Charmery.
Shea Radiance: Shea Radiance, a Catalyst Loan Fund client, has been in business for over 10 years. Shea Radiance is a global beauty brand that uses simple, wholesome ingredients to create its products. The Catalyst Loan Fund allowed Shea Radiance to expand significant resources within their business, including purchasing necessary equipment to launch production and build marketing to grow their brand.
The Howard County Economic Development Authority has performed more than 900 COVID-19 related support cases assisting local businesses in navigating the challenges of the pandemic. Additionally, in collaboration with the Howard County Department of Finance and Department of Community Resources and Services, HCEDA administered the business grants established by County Executive Ball’s HoCo RISE initiative.
Howard County’s most recent unemployment rate was 4.3% in August 2021, down from 5.4% for August 2020, and 1.6% lower than Maryland’s August unemployment rate of 5.9%. Howard County’s rate is one of the lowest of the 24 Maryland counties. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, Howard County reported a 2.7% unemployment rate.
About Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA):
The Howard County Economic Development Authority is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, targeting new businesses, and attracting corporate/regional headquarters. The Authority also maintains several programs aimed at the special needs of small, minority-owned, and agricultural businesses. Additionally, the Authority strives to preserve the distinctive quality of life in Howard County. For more information, please visit: www.hceda.org.