On January 29th, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball hosted a virtual small business town hall to discuss federal response and economic initiatives important to our business community. Ball was joined by Senate Small Business Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Howard County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Leonardo McClarty, and Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) CEO Larry Twele. The group discussed potential additional federal COVID-19 relief, including an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program, and how vaccination rollouts may impact business this year.
“I have made it a core mission of my administration to provide personal and targeted support to grow and strengthen our business community especially for our small business owners,” said Ball. “Over the course of the past year, we have worked on making sure our businesses can survive this economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and be successful throughout our recovery, by providing millions in federal, state, and local funds to support our businesses.”
“I commend County Executive Ball for listening to Howard County small business owners and allowing me the opportunity to provide an update on local and federal resources available to small businesses in need of support. We will lessen the pain of this pandemic if we can work as a coordinated team, bringing all the available resources together for our common goals,” Cardin said. “With America in the middle of a dark winter of increasing infections and job losses, I will continue pushing for Congress to pass another rescue package to fund vaccinations and contain the virus, and deliver direct, immediate relief to those hardest hit, including small business and struggling families.”
County Executive Ball noted that since 2018, Howard County has doubled the number of firms registered and certified in the Local Business Initiative program, growing from 100 to 200 firms. The County’s commitment to engaging local businesses in the procurement process was highlighted in two outreach events targeted towards construction and information technology businesses. In 2020, nearly $16.5 million in County funds were spent on projects with certified local business enterprises. This is an increase of $5.8 million or 56% over Fiscal Year 2019.
Additionally, Howard County designated more than $13.5 million in federal CARES Act and State funding to support struggling industries across our county through its HoCo RISE Business Grant program.
· Funding for locally-owned, small retailers.
· For our local farms whose supply chain was impacted
· 20 restaurants keeping their doors open
· To our robust arts community and live venues, to support them through this time of empty concert halls and quiet galleries
· As tourism continues to recover, Howard County distributed funding to local hotels.
· And for one of the most critical industries – child care – to support local establishments to improve safety protocols and provide support for smaller class sizes.
For additional resources and support, businesses should visit the Howard County Economic Development Authority portal at: http://www.hceda.org/coronavirus/
Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/HoCoGovExec/videos/319676192792951/