Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced additional CARES Act funding through HoCo RISE business grants and introduced the HoCo RISE Collaborative. The HoCo RISE Collaborative is chaired by former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, will be supported by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, and is made up of five independent workgroups that will develop and provide recommendations on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Ball also announced a “Give Thanks to Employees” campaign, to encourage organizations to patronize restaurants in lieu of traditional office parties. Photos of the event can be found here. Video can be found here.
“The HoCo RISE Collaborative provides us an opportunity to dive deeper into the implications of this pandemic on all facets of our community and identify best practices as we restore and reimagine how to emerge from these challenging times,” said Ball. “As we see increasing cases here and around the country, it’s also critical that we sustain our public health response and support economic activity. With this second round of HoCo RISE business grants, we are expanding our original scope and providing additional funds to our local small businesses.”
“Those of us who voted for the CARES Act knew that it was absolutely critical to keep the doors of small businesses across Howard County, Maryland and America open during this unprecedented pandemic – it’s gratifying to see it in action and meet local employers that have directly benefitted,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said. “It also underscores the need for Congress to immediately pass another round of relief that is safer, bigger and better as COVID-19 surges again. We must crush the virus, put money into the pockets of American people and help our small business owners weather this storm.”
HoCo RISE Collaborative
County Executive Ball established the collaborative through Executive Order, which is comprised of five workgroups:
- Jobs and the Economy: Chaired by Marcellous Frye, will recommend policies and practices that will leverage collective assets within industries; identify key needs in different industries; assist businesses with accelerating their technical capabilities, namely small and minority-owned businesses; and, determine how to prepare for the long-term.
- Education and Workforce Development: Chaired by Minah Woo, will recommend policies and practices that will identify new occupations that may arise as a result of COVID-19 and explore workforce training programs to prepare the workforce for those occupations; address technology training and infrastructure needs that are needed for workers who are now expected to apply for and work remotely; develop the pipeline, including K-20 and beyond, to respond to business needs; address disconnected youth (those 16-24 who are neither working or in school) opportunities; and, identify and address challenges experienced by unemployed and underemployed individuals related to equity.
- Public Health Response: Chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Kromm, will recommend policies and practices that will fill remaining systems gaps that exist in other COVID-19 response efforts, such as testing; increase timely access to a vaccine; enable efficient and equitable distribution of a vaccine; ensure safe storage of a vaccine; optimize community engagement; promote partnerships and alignment within the healthcare community; and, align research with the Quality of Life Workgroup.
- Family Opportunities: Chaired by Shonte Elridge, will recommend policies and practices that will sustain food access needs across the County; increase coordination and information sharing amongst all providers; reduce barriers to social services; systemically address childcare challenges; increase housing opportunities, including home ownership and foreclosure/eviction avoidance; and, increase digital equity across all generations and socio-economic statuses and increase access points across the County.
- Government Response: Chaired by Lonnie Robbins, will continue oversight of all government activities, including responding to and leading emergency operations for the County; reopen the government to employees and the public; prepare for a possible second wave of coronavirus; and, oversee all CARES funding activities.
“I applaud County Executive Ball for putting together the HoCo RISE Collaborative,” said Ken Ulman, HoCo RISE Collaborative Chair and former Howard County Executive. “These workgroups will help us get through our current tough times, but most importantly, assist the county to recover on the other side of this pandemic. A lot of citizens are going to be engaged in this effort and we will be focused on how we use this opportunity to create a stronger and more resilient Howard County.”
“County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball recognizes that we are at a pivotal point in the pandemic and I applaud his leadership establishing this Collaborative to provide guidance as we move through this crisis,” said Marcellous Frye, Chair of the Jobs and Economy Workgroup. “I am pleased to lead the Jobs and Economy Workgroup and proud to serve with local business leaders to provide recommendations to the County Executive on reopening efforts and advise on the implications of a possible second wave of COVID-19 and its ongoing business impacts.”
“Hudson Coastal is very excited for the impending financial grant from HoCo RISE,” said Tricia Hudson, owner of Hudson Coastal. “With winter approaching and the uncertainly of regulations that will impede our business in the short and long term we are grateful for the assistance. I am very proud to have been approached to serve amongst other industry leaders in the HoCo RISE Collaborative. I will be involved in providing feedback on behalf of the restaurant industry to the administration for short, medium- and long-term needs. I appreciate the understanding of Howard County that all industries require different aid and solutions while working together to continue to allow businesses to thrive.”
HoCo RISE Business Grants
Howard County distributed more than $1.6 million through the first round HoCo RISE business grants to local restaurants, retail, farms, childcare, and hotels. All businesses that received grants in the first round will get a second round of funding through a streamlined process, ranging from $3,000-6,000, an increase from $2,500 in the first round of grants. The second round of grants are also open to new qualified applicants in the same sectors.
Howard County restaurants will also receive support from the $2.5 million allocated by Maryland’s Restaurant Relief fund, meaning restaurants will receive a minimum of $10,000 and up to $17,000 relief from these combined efforts. Finally, Ball announced Howard County Chamber of Commerce organizations with business memberships would receive $10,000.
“The Howard County Economic Development Authority is proud to be part of the Executive’s HoCo RISE initiatives,” said Larry Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. “By supporting the business assistance grants, we will be getting more financial assistance to our small businesses who have been severely impacted by this pandemic and we are looking forward to supporting the work of the Collaborative as we work with local business leaders to provide insight and guidance on strategies for our local economy during this crisis.”
“The Howard County Chamber is once again proud to partner with the County Executive and the Howard County Economic Development Authority on the HoCo RISE Collaborative,” said Leonardo McClarty, President of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. “As the Covid-19 virus continues to impact our community, it is important that business and government work together to develop processes that keep the economy open and employees and customers safe. We are also appreciative of the County Executive’s support of the Chamber through this latest round of grants. As an organization that was not eligible for federal relief due to our tax status, these funds are much appreciated and will be put to good use.”
“Our industry is hurting, and it is the support of grants such as this that allow us to be able to stay afloat,” said Salim Nawaey, owner of Maiwand Kabob. “Thank you, Dr. Ball, for providing much needed monetary relief.”
Give Thanks to Employees Campaign
With traditional office parties not feasible this year, this campaign promotes safe alternatives for businesses to appreciate their employees and bring much-needed support to Howard County restaurants during the holidays. Restaurants across Howard County are now offering options for delivery and pick-up of holiday meals, and individually packaged holiday treats directly from the restaurant.