Find Ideal Resources to Support Business Growth and Development


Frequently asked questions from potential entrepreneurs and the small business community

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MCEDC’s Director of Small and Minority Business Development, is out and about in the community daily – and frequently nightly – to meet with and consult with entrepreneurs.  Daniel, along many other members of the team at MCEDC, connects with the many diverse communities of Montgomery County, visiting Chambers of Commerce and meeting one-on-one with business and potential business owners.

We talked with Daniel to find out the most frequently asked questions when he and others from MCEDC are out in the community.

MCEDC staff, especially the business developers, work as connectors and facilitators. Let’s talk about some of the topics that come up most frequently – and how MCEDC can help.

Individually and as a team, we are connectors in the community. Many people come to us who don’t know where to look for information. We help them find what they need, either connecting to other staff members of MCEDC, Montgomery County officials or outside resources. Montgomery County has ample resources and we help people find what they need to be successful – and help potential business owners overcome obstacles.

Tell us about some of the key local resources you offer as referrals.

Rockville Economic Development Inc. (REDI) is a great local resource that supports companies in various stages of growth. They offer access to data and demographic research, networking and referral, information about funding and incentives – and a host of other assets. REDI also houses the Maryland Women’s Business Center, whose resources include help to start a business, grow a business and write a business plan. We work closely with The Maryland Department of Commerce for entrepreneurs to take advantage of workforce training, financial assistance and more. Their site has resources ranging from business basics to global expansion Another great local resource is the Small Business Navigator and the County’s Business Portal, services specifically designed to help small businesses navigate County government services.

What recommendations do you have for entrepreneurs looking for space in the County?

We draw from our abundant internal resources with assistance from our research folks. They are very knowledgeable and use outside sources like CoStar, Commercial real estate Agents, to help identify space based on finances and other considerations.

How do you assist folks looking to do contracts with the federal and local governments?

We usually contact folks or put people in touch with the staff at the Office of Procurement. Their website is also filled with information where you can download bids and proposals, see their list of FAQs for how they help, and connect folks to the many events they have to help small businesses get ahead.

Entrepreneurs looking to grow their business frequently ask about obtaining minority certification.

Maryland.gov has an Office of Minority Business Enterprise which provides information. The MCEDC website also has information for specific business groups (minority-, women-, veteran-owned) at thinkmoco.com under ‘Grow your Business.’  

The Montgomery MOVE program assists small businesses, as funding is available, and the business qualifies. Can you tell us more about MOVE?

The Montgomery MOVE program is designed to assist new businesses in the County that lease up to 20,000 square feet of Class A or B office space or wet lab space. Qualified recipients may receive a grant of $8.00 per square foot and companies need to apply within 90 days of signing a lease. We have an online form that potential recipients can fill out. Elite Insurance is a woman-owned business in Rockville and a great example of a company that has used the MOVE program to grow their business.

Tell us about some recent inquiries from local small business owners.

We are working with an education company that has 3 current locations and is looking to expand his franchise into at least one more area – and partner with an internationally known technology company. Another company is working towards selling his very smart product to Government Agencies  – we are helping him source parts for his product in the U.S. so he can gain traction on his goal of selling to the federal, state and local governments . It’s always different!

How about the area Chambers of Commerce?
The team at MCEDC has established great contacts and relationships with many of the chambers of commerce in the area, for specific ethnic groups and location-based chambers within the County.  Frequently we attend events at their locations and can help entrepreneurs connect with specific people at the chambers.

Since BioHealth is such an important sector in Montgomery County, what are some of the services for life sciences companies?
BioHealth Innovation (BHI) is a great support in the County. They have an international soft-landing program, they run a number of incubator and innovation centers to help entrepreneurs get started and are also great for mentoring and networking. We work closely with BHI.

Another frequently asked question – and need – is potential funding.

Our team helps companies connect with venture capital groups if that’s applicable or with Montgomery County and Maryland funding opportunities. Information on Access to Capital can be found on our MCEDC site. We help potential small business owners figure out what might be available for them. The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) is an independent organization and a go-to resource for entrepreneurs seeking business assistance and seed funding.

For more information connect with daniel@thinkmoco.com

Resources:
Find a curated Small Business Resource Guide  for entrepreneurs, and small and minority business owners. This list was created by Lynne Stein Benzion, MCEDC’s Director of Business Retention and Expansion.

thinkmoco.com under Grow your Business has resources for small, women-owned, minority and veteran-owned businesses.