Small Biz Bulletin, Governor's Office of Small Minority & Women Business Affairs

Header 1

Small Biz Bulletin

June 3, 2020

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

Rethink your Professional Network

In the last issue, I challenged you to rethink the theory behind your business as Maryland begins to reopen. I would like to continue on that theme and explore other areas where you should proactively rethink your current paradigm. Strong professional networks are critical to entrepreneurs. It may have taken a pandemic to remind us how important effective networks are to the bottom line. Relationships are built on mutual interests, yet when faced with a crisis, we prioritize working with people we know and trust. If you need to rebuild or expand your network, start now. Live events are scarce these days, so utilize social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter to follow and interact with like-minded entrepreneurs and keep track of what's happening in your specific industry. When events begin again, connect with professional organizations in your industry or community and get involved. Join a committee and attend events regularly. Networking is about meeting new people, so have your elevator pitch polished and remember to do more listening than talking when you meet someone for the first time. Time will strengthen a good relationship. You must make a genuine effort to stay in touch no matter how busy life becomes. Your professional network should include mentors, resource partners, service providers, and customers. That's why the health and strength of your professional network can be your single greatest advantage today, and for years to come. 

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary

For Your Business

Online Training

eMMA Vendor Training Videos

This one bears repeating! If you're interested in doing business with the State of Maryland, you must know how to navigate the eMMA platform with proficiency. eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) is our online procurement portal that was launched in July, 2019. Many vendors are still learning to operate within this new procurement tool. Users who are not taking the time to learn the system properly may be submitting bids that cannot be accepted. Please take advantage of the online training and Help Desk videos to help you maintain your vendor profile and identify/pursue contracting opportunities. "Submitting Electronic Bids" is one of the most popular videos currently available. New videos are being added regularly, so bookmark this site and visit often.

eMMA Vendor Training and Support


Maryland flag with state house dome in background

Commercial Non-Discrimination Policy

We're glad Maryland has a policy prohibiting commercial non-discrimination. That means we won't enter into a contract with a business entity that has discriminated in the solicitation, selection, hiring, or commercial treatment of vendors, suppliers, subcontractors, or commercial customers on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, gender/sex, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or marital status. Harassment and retaliation are also prohibited. To learn more about this longstanding policy, use the link below to visit the State of Maryland's Commission on Civil Rights. 

Commercial Non-Discrimination Policy



Top Business Podcasts

For many entrepreneurs, shutting down is hard to do. They are always "on" and feel disconnected when not actively engaged in something. That's one of the reason podcasts have become a valued entrepreneurial tool. Who doesn't love multitasking! You can get all kinds of higher knowledge from a gentle voice while walking, cleaning, cooking, or staring into nothingness. Podcasts cover a broad, broad range of topics - business being among the most popular. There's a lot of information and experiences to share, and with everyone spending more time at home these days, new podcasts are launching everyday. If you don't already subscribe to any podcasts, you should give it a try. Your time is valuable, so do a little research and choose wisely. There's likely more than one podcast out there for you. You can search on your own or look through the list in the link provided below. 

Top Business Podcasts for 2020

Alison Tavik

Open for Business and Working from Home

Introducing Alison Tavik

My family moved to Maryland when I was in the second grade, and I will live here the rest of my life. I grew up in Western Maryland, attended school on the Eastern Shore, and raised my family in Central Maryland on property that has been in my husband's family for nearly 75 years. My career in communications started in the private sector, but it is here in public service where I met my most influential mentors and colleagues who I am happy to count among my dearest friends. As the Director of Communication and Outreach with the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, I have the pleasure of working with people who genuinely value diversity and inclusion. Perfection is not a real thing, and we are continually working to improve our outreach and training programs so small business owners can compete with confidence in the state contracting arena. One thing I know for sure is the network of people engaged in this endeavor vastly outweighs those who just don't get it. I am inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that drives someone to take incredible risk and I aspire to be more like them. I am a people person, so I miss having face-to-face conversations in the office and at events. While I do feel productive working from home during this unusual time in our history, on some days I am compelled to rebel against communicating through the keyboard. That's when I go "old school" and pick up the phone. 


Mark Your Calendar

In this new environment of social distancing, everyone is adapting. Today's seminars are webinars, Zoom meetings, Facebook Live events, Google Meets, and more. If you have a smart phone or a computer, you have what you need to tap into these valuable training and information sessions. Capacity can fill quickly, so sign up early when required to do so.

06/04/2020 - Expanding Global Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses During COVID-19
06/04/2020 - Corporate Social Responsibility: How Your Values Add Value to Your Business
06/05/2020 - Successfully Managing Unplanned Changes (For Managers)
06/09/2020 - Simple Ways to Boost Your Productivity While Working Remotely
06/09/2020 - Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Threats
06/17/2020 - Hensel Phelps Small Business Webinar
06/17/2020 - Economic Inclusions & Virtual Global Business Opportunity Fair 
06/30/2020 - LinkedIn: Building Social Media Content
07/07/2020 - MBE Application Assistance Workshop

Check out our full listing of small business events
online at

COVID-19 Business Resources