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November 13, 2009

Governor Outlines Plan to Strengthen Small Business

Governor Martin O’Malley outlined his plan to strengthen Maryland’s small business community during the Maryland Chamber’s Business Policy Conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge.

Addressing more than 300 Maryland Chamber members, Governor O’Malley thanked the business community for its hard work during these difficult times to move our state forward. He discussed Maryland’s economic strengths and how his administration believes that Maryland is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the challenges our country faces. He said that Maryland can be the center of American leadership in skills, security and sustainability.

He then turned his attention to Maryland’s small business community.

“In many ways, small business is the heart and soul of our state,” Governor O’Malley said. “If we’re going to turn the corner from recovery to prosperity, we need all of you, and we must continue to recognize that our progress as a state depends on the prosperity of small businesses.”

Governor O’Malley outlined a ten point strategy to strengthen small business in Maryland:

  1. Create Maryland’s first ever Commission for Small Business, built upon the positive momentum of the Small Business Task Force created in July, giving the small business community a permanent seat at the table.

  2. Expand assistance to Maryland businesses through the Health Insurance Partnership, fulfilling our capacity to serve 1,500 businesses and 10,000 Marylanders with access to quality, affordable health insurance through employment at a Maryland small business.

  3. Create one, uniform loan application for any small business applying for state financing and streamline the state’s permitting requirements to further reduce the red tape for Maryland small businesses.

  4. Match President Obama’s commitment to waive borrowing fees for SBA loans on the state level, including fees for the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, which has financed 26 businesses since July of 2007, providing nearly $5 million in assistance and helping these businesses create and retain 400 jobs.

  5. Work with our Congressional delegation to secure greater capital from the federal government for our small businesses.

  6. Expand our efforts to advance Minority Business Enterprise, further enhancing the unprecedented efforts of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, which has set the highest MBE goal for state agencies in the nation, achieving 22% MBE participation across state government in FY09 and awarding $346 million to African American firms - a 30% increase from the previous year.

  7. Set aside a percentage of certain state contracts for small business through the Small Business Reserve Program, extending the program six more years, allowing Maryland small businesses to navigate the bidding process without being overwhelmed by the bidding power of large corporations.

  8. Through our Federal Facilities Task Force, work with the federal government to open up federal procurement and contracting opportunities for more Maryland businesses.

  9. Work with the business community to finds ways to do an even better job providing skills training and promoting career readiness in our schools, particularly as it relates to things like Career and Technology Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.

  10. Work with the business community to find a sustainable solution to the unemployment insurance challenges facing Maryland small businesses.

To view the Governor’s prepared remarks, click here (pdf).

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