Small Biz Bulletin May 2024

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Small Biz Bulletin - May 2024

Maria Martinez

Message from Special Secretary Martinez

Celebrating Small Business Month: Honoring Maryland's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Every May, the nation celebrates Small Business Month to recognize the critical role small businesses play in our business community. With 31.7 million small businesses across the United States, over 650,000 have chosen Maryland as their base. Accounting for 99.5% of all businesses in the state, these enterprises are undoubtedly the backbone of Maryland's economy and the unsung heroes of the American Dream.

Drawing from my personal experience, I understand both the challenges and rewards of the entrepreneurial journey. It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to acknowledge the resilience of Maryland's small business owners and their supporters. Today's entrepreneurs face tremendous challenges, but thankfully, they have the backing of several public and private organizations committed to their success. Notable supporters include the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Maryland Small Business Development Centers, and the Maryland Women’s Business Center, among others. These organizations provide essential services such as coaching, training, and access to capital, supporting our entrepreneurial community daily.

Maryland prides itself on its diversity. Recognized as the most diverse state on the East Coast and home to three of the country's most diverse cities, Maryland's equitable and inclusive environment makes it an ideal place for business ownership. Research indicates that diverse perspectives enhance creativity and drive innovation. It is no surprise that a Lendio study ranked Maryland as the #2 state in the nation for minority entrepreneurs to succeed.

The journey of starting and growing a small business requires immense resilience and tenacity. This Small Business Month, I celebrate each of you and extend my gratitude for choosing Maryland as your place to thrive.


Maria Martinez

Special Secretary

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast

As we celebrate both Military Appreciation and Small Business Months in May, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs is pleased to host the 2024 Small Business Military Appreciation Breakfast on May 15, 2024 at Prince George's Community College. Major General Janeen L. Birckhead, Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard, will deliver the keynote address and Secretary Anthony Woods of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs will provide an update on Maryland's Year of the Military Family initiative. In addition, Special Secretary Maria Martinez will present four citations from Governor Wes Moore to outstanding veteran business owners. Guests will enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast and receive valuable information about federal, state, and private sector resources for veteran entrepreneurs. Winners of the regional Veteran Shark Tank will also be announced. Advance registration is required and only a limited number of seats remain.

FSK Bridge Response Website

FSK Bridge Collapse Response Website

Governor Wes Moore recently launched the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Response Website. This comprehensive online tool connects visitors to government, business, philanthropic, and community resources to provide immediate relief and support for those whose livelihoods and businesses have been affected by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. Content on the site has been curated to assist workers and businesses in identifying resources available to them. It serves as a central location where all programs and resources are being shared. Visit this site for details on these state programs:

Maryland Department of Commerce's Port of Baltimore Emergency
Assistance Program

Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development's Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Port of Baltimore Worker Retention Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

Maryland Department of Labor's Port of Baltimore Emergency Worker Support Program

Comptroller of Maryland's Business Tax Payments Waiver (Through May 31st)

Comptroller of Maryland's International Fuel Tax Association Requirements Waiver
(through May 31st)

Maryland Insurance Administration Virtual Disaster Center


Key Bridge Rebuild
VIRTUAL Industry Forum 

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)
will host a virtual industry forum for rebuilding of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on May 7 at 2 pm. During the forum, MDTA representatives will discuss the anticipated Progressive Design Build (PDB) process with potential consultants, contractors, and subcontractors to share current information on the pending Request for Proposals (RFP). Information on how to apply for federal certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) will also be provided. The RFP is expected to be released by the end of May. MDTA is committed to providing opportunities for participation by our minority and disadvantaged business communities. Together, rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge will reflect MDTA's culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Key Bridge Rebuild Virtual Industry Forum


Our Team is Growing

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs is pleased to welcome Caryn Brandon to our team. With a background in accounting, Caryn is a seasoned professional and innovative thinker. Her career in the accounting field began in California where she prepared budgets and financial statements, performed audits, managed contracts, and conducted data analysis. This entrepreneur also founded a non-profit tech program for underserved youth. Since moving to Maryland in 2021, Caryn has worked for the Howard County Economic Development Authority and the Maryland Department of Labor. She is also currently volunteering as the interim finance director for the Family Tree in Baltimore. In her new role as an MBE compliance manger, Caryn will collect and analyze data, develop best practices, implement regulations, and ensure the Minority Business Enterprise Program is performing across 72 participating agencies and units. Welcome Caryn! 

Tracie Bolden

From the Desk of the MBE Ombudsman

The MBE Ombudsman unit officially started under the Moore-Miller administration, in January 2024. Primarily, the unit works with prime contractors, MBEs, and state agencies to resolve
issues that arise during contract performance, develops policies and guidance to assist agencies in implementing the MBE Program, and conducts training and outreach for the purpose of improving compliance to MBE Program rules and regulations. The unit is already busy carrying out this important work and recently expanded to include an MBE Ombudsman compliance manager. Tracie Bolden joined the MBE Ombudsman unit, within the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, in mid-April and will serve a pivotal role in helping to promote a culture change among stakeholders of the MBE Program through education and outreach, policy changes, advocacy, and support of both state personnel and minority and women-owned businesses. Tracie has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland and has extensive proficiency in contract negotiations, vendor management, process improvement, change management, and regulatory compliance. She is an inventive and experienced management professional who loves to think outside the box. Her unique perspective and skillset will be invaluable as we focus on target areas for process and performance improvement. Welcome Tracie!

TIPS Tight View

Free Small Business Training

Gain an insightful understanding of the state's procurement processes and improve your core competencies by attending our T.I.P.S. (Training and Insights for Procurement Success) Small Business Webinar Series. We offer two free classes every month on topics carefully curated to help you learn to compete with confidence. If you want to do business with the State of Maryland, our T.I.P.S. webinar series is a must. There is no cost to participate, just register in advance to receive the participation link.  

Social Media

We Want You!

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs continually shares information curated specifically for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses on
our social media channels. We'll inspire you with our #MotivationMonday series and connect you to a broad range of small business resources, events, and training programs. Please join our social media community and follow us today. 


See You There.4

Our team is actively participating in events throughout Maryland. You'll find us at
these events
in May. Click on the links to get all the details and join us!