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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: small business

Hart Industries in Owings Mills and Zest Social Solutions in Towson have been recognized with the 2017 Baltimore County New Directions Award. The annual award is made to companies that exemplify leadership in business practices by developing new technologies, improving the skills of the workforce, addressing environmental challenges, and/or promoting community development. 

“We are proud to recognize Hart Industries and Zest Social Solutions as leaders in Baltimore County’s innovation community,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Both companies demonstrate the importance of seizing growth opportunities and using technology to meet changing customer needs.”

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will present the New Directions awards November 9 at the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame ceremony.

Hart Industries

Open a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a piece of Double Bubble gum, and you’ll be handling paper wrappers from Hart Industries in Owings Mills. Since their founding over 45 years ago, this leading packaging supplier has grown into a global company that makes specially engineered paper products for the food service industry. Current technology in development includes recyclable plant-based waxed wrapper products. Hart Industries’ 58 employees take pride in providing great service, world-class quality and a willingness to work with customers to improve and maintain efficient supply chains.

Zest Social Media Solutions

Zest Social Media Solutions in Towson is a local leader in digital media strategies and brand development. Zest specializes in dynamic web presence development that allows clients to more effectively tell their story. The firm works with clients across the country to create comprehensive web based marketing and business development systems to expand exposure, extend networks, and leverage brands.

Hart Industries and Zest Social Solutions join previous New Directions Award winners that include Potomac Photonics, Dunbar Security Solutions, Firaxis Games, Social Solutions, Nations Photo Lab and Pharmaceutics International, Inc. (PII).

In addition to the New Directions award, Pay Pal and CASA of Baltimore County will be inducted into the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame at the November 9 ceremony at Delta Hotels by Marriott Baltimore in Hunt Valley.


A health drink manufacturer and the makers of a gel to improve sports glove performance are among the latest small businesses to receive loans from the Baltimore County Boost fund, a flexible financing resource for entrepreneurs. More than $3.8 million in Boost Fund loans have been approved to 31 companies since the program launched in late 2014. Together, these businesses represent over 425 jobs.

“Fueling promising small businesses is one of the best investments we can make to grow our economy. Boost Fund loans come at a critical time when early stage companies are ready to add jobs, expand facilities, invest in new equipment and move to their next stage of growth,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.

Recent loans supported two growing Baltimore County manufacturing companies.

Mobtown Fermentation

Mobtown Fermentation brews Wild Kombucha, a drink made from fermented tea and organic juices. Based on a family recipe, Wild Kombucha is brewed in Timonium and is available at 230 locations in the Mid-Atlantic. A $100,000 Boost Fund loan helped the company move from hand to automated bottling.   

“Loan support from the Baltimore County Boost fund has allowed us to purchase an automated bottling line to keep up with product demand. We are adding jobs in Baltimore County as more and more people discover the fresh taste and healthy benefits of our unique kombucha brews,” said Sid Sharma, a partner in Wild Kombucha.

Grip Boost, Inc.

“It took two University of Maryland chemical engineers and a former Ravens tight end to come up with a product to improve the performance of athletic gloves. Our company, Grip Boost, found the additional working capital we needed to add inventory and grow our business in the perfect place, the UMBC Technology Center,” said Matt Furstenburg, CEO, Grip Boost.    

Grip Boost is used to improve the grip performance of football, baseball and golf gloves. A $100,000 Baltimore County Boost Fund loan will be used for working capital as the three-year old company expands and adds inventory.

Loans customized for each business

The Boost Fund, managed by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, can lend qualified small businesses in the region between $50,000 and $250,000 for start-up and gap funding, building and leasehold improvements, business and equipment acquisition, commercial real estate acquisition, and working capital.

Boost Fund loans are flexible, with a reduced down payment and interest rates set at or below market rates.  Payment plans are customized to meet the cash flow needs of each business.

Loan funding comes from the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund, which was established with revenue from Maryland casinos.

Suite of business assistance services

“The Boost Fund is a valuable addition to the County’s business resources, which include free employee recruitment and training programs, site selection assistance, and a suite of financing options. Baltimore County stands ready to support companies when they are ready to expand and add jobs,” said Will Anderson, director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.   

For more information on the Boost Fund or to apply for a loan, visit Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BCBoostFund.com or call 410-887-8000.


Baltimore County is making local shopping easier this holiday season with two hours of free meter parking. Parking will be free at 1,735 meters throughout Baltimore County Thanksgiving weekend, November 24-27. For last-minute shoppers, there also will be free meter parking December 21-25, just before Christmas and the start of Chanukah.  

Meters will be decorated with red “Seasons Greetings” bags in Catonsville, Towson, Parkville, Essex, Overlea, Pikesville, Arbutus, Stoneleigh, and Dundalk.

"A little relief at the parking meter during the busiest days of the holiday season makes it easier to support locally owned shops and restaurants,” said Kamenetz. “These small businesses help support the neighborhood economy. We encourage everyone to shop local on Small Business Saturday, November 26, and throughout the holiday season.” 

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz encouraged local shopping in a video recorded along the Frederick Road shopping district in Catonsville.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017