Baltimore County Now
by Helga Weschke, Deputy Director
Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development
From a company that produces sorting machines to major corporations such as Lockheed Martin, teams from the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development met with over 300 companies in one week to deliver a single, clear message: “Your business is an important economic driver in the local economy.”
Baltimore County just finished its second annual Business 1st Week, a time dedicated to reaching out to the County’s business community to show appreciation and to remind companies about the many programs and services available to help them thrive. Companies received an overview of financing opportunities, free workforce recruitment and training programs, tax credits, and innovation and commercialization programs available to Baltimore County businesses. We also showcased the new Boost loan fund for small, minority and women owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We are very fortunate that over 20,000 businesses call Baltimore County home,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in declaring October 20-24 Business 1st Week. “We want to make sure that our diverse business community knows that Baltimore County has the resources in place to support their success.”
Business 1st Week is an opportunity for the County’s business and workforce development staff to hear what business issues keep company CEO’s up at night and how County resources can help support and grow their operations.
So what did we learn after a week blanketing the County? Our business community is certainly diverse when you look at it from street level. In a single day, one team visited a machine shop, a 3D product design company, and a nut processing company. We also learned that a well-trained workforce is the key component to business success. Most firms felt that the economy is stabilizing and improving, with many firms experiencing growth.
We appreciated the chance to meet and thank companies for being part of our economic prosperity. And we’ll do it again – once our feet recover!
For more information on Baltimore County Economic and Workforce Development business programs and services, call 410-887-8000 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/business.
Will Anderson, Director
Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development
It’s a reality every small business owner faces. When your business plan says it’s time to take it to the next level, you discover that you need more trained workers, more space, and more capital. As they say in that classic movie “who you gonna call?”
The Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development can help with free workforce recruitment and training, site searches for a new location, business and marketing plan development, and financing assistance.
OK, we got your attention with financing.
Baltimore County can help you make the most of Enterprise Zone, commercial revitalization and job creation tax credits. But let’s focus on a new Baltimore County loan fund.
The new Baltimore County Boost Fund offers flexible loans for small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The Boost Fund provides business loans for
· Start-up and gap funding
· Building and leasehold improvements
· Business and equipment acquisition
· Working capital
· Commercial real estate acquisition
The Boost Fund can lend qualified small businesses between $50,000 to $250,000, with a reduced down payment and interest rates set at or below market rates. Payment plans are customized to meet your business cash flow needs.
We have already made an impact with the Boost Fund. Here are a few examples.
Michele's Granola is honored to be the one of the first recipients of Baltimore County's Boost Loan Fund. These funds will allow us to expand to a larger kitchen facility in Baltimore County and double production of our small batch granola products that will be available for wholesale distribution throughout the United States. We are proud to be a woman-owned business contributing to job creation and economic development in Baltimore County.
Michele Tsucalas, President, Michele’s Granola
A women-owned manufacturing company
One of the greatest impediments to growth any business faces is access to capital. With the Boost Loan program, Baltimore County clearly recognizes that expanding small businesses are vital to the local economy. We will use this loan to grow and make further contributions to the local economy.
Barnett A. Carroll Jr., President, Aegis Mechanical Corporation
A service disabled veteran-owned and minority certified business
Baltimore County's new loan program has helped my husband and I renovate an older but full-of-character building. The funds are being used to build a new kitchen, renovate the bar, and revitalize an older dining area so we can bring some great food and service to Arbutus. Without Baltimore County and their loan program, we wouldn't be where we are with the renovations.
Sharon Andrews, co-owner, Oak Creek Café
A new business in the Arbutus Commercial Revitalization District
For more information about additional financing programs, tax credits, recruiting workforce talent and other small business services, visit the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BaltimoreCountyBusiness.com or call 410-887-8000.
This could be the boost your company needs.
Sara Trenery, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development
On July 10, 1964, Alan and Lois Elkin opened a small business selling copying supplies, ribbons, carbons and duplicators in 1,200 square feet of space. Little did they know at the time that one day this small business would become Maryland’s largest independent document management company, Advance –The Document Specialists, employing over 180 people at four locations.
It took just three years before Advance outgrew its space and moved its eight employees to Timonium. In an effort to demonstrate their copier products to the customer, Advance created the “Curbside Copier Showroom,” a modified Winnebago equipped with copy machines for mobile demonstrations.
With business booming, Advance moved to its current headquarters in Cockeysville. In 1990 Jeff Elkin joined his parents in the business and in 2000 was named CEO of the company.
With annual revenues approaching $40 million, Advance continues to receive national recognition and awards for their commitment to providing outstanding service-not just during “normal business hours” but during evenings, weekends and holidays. Advance is also a manufacturer’s certified service training center, one of the few in the entire U.S.
In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Advance’s employees rated the company one of the best places to work, making Advance a finalist for Baltimore Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award.
Alan Elkin describes his philosophy this way: “Advance is not just a job. Advance is our life. We love what we do. It is what defines us. “We Live and Breathe This Stuff” is not just the tagline for our commercials; it is our culture.”
As Advance celebrates 50 years in business, Baltimore County salutes the Elkin family for their commitment to their customers and their community.