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Maryland to distribute almost $200 million to small businesses

The state of Maryland has been approved to distribute $198 million in federal relief funds to small businesses, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday.

The funding comes from the State Small Business Credit Initiative, a U.S. Department of the Treasury program that supplies loans and investments to small businesses. The program will provide a total of $10 billion to small businesses across the country, through American Rescue Plan Act funds. 

Hogan said Maryland was the first state to submit its deployment plan for these funds and one of the first five states, alongside Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan and West Virginia, to be approved. 

“Through a number of relief programs, our efforts to keep Maryland ‘open for business’ during the pandemic have protected jobs and empowered one of the strongest and sustainable recoveries in the nation,” Hogan said in the announcement. “We have one of the most aggressive plans in the country to get these resources out the door utilizing our very successful lending and investment programs to help our small businesses, particularly those in underserved communities primed for revitalization.” 

Maryland will deploy the funds through three different agencies and organizations: the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Commerce and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, better known as TEDCO.  

DHCD will distribute the largest share of the funds, up to $103 million, through Neighborhood BusinessWorks, a loan program that provides flexible financing of up to $5 million to businesses in Opportunity Zones, Priority Funding Areas, and Sustainable Communities and Community Development Financing Institution Investment Areas.  

“Neighborhood BusinessWorks has long been our department’s flagship business lending program with established infrastructure, processes, and partnerships that have provided more than $70 million in capital to businesses under Governor Hogan’s leadership,” said DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt in the announcement. “This additional federal funding will enable this already successful program to significantly expand its reach and impact in both urban and rural Maryland.” 

The Department of Commerce will receive up to $45 million for the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, which helps fund businesses — especially women- and minority-owned businesses — that have struggled to obtain business funding elsewhere.

Finally, TEDCO, which funds early-stage technology firms in Maryland, will be allotted $50 million to be spread between four of its existing funding programs: the Venture Equity Fund, Venture Capital Limited Partnership Equity program, Seeds Funds Equity and the Social Impact Fund. 

The state plans to give out the money beginning this summer. In the interim, Hogan’s announcement invites interested business owners to visit the state’s SSBCI landing page, open.maryland.gov/ssbci, to sign up to be notified when funds are available.