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New funds supercharge Maryland’s small business assistance programs

Earlier this year, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that Maryland is deploying up to $198 million in small business relief funded by the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative, further affirming that Maryland remains “open for business” as part of its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established by Congress in 2010 to provide loans and investments to underserved small businesses, the State Small Business Credit Initiative received a $10 billion allocation as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Recognizing the tremendous opportunity for the state’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, Maryland was the first state in the nation to submit its deployment plan to the U.S. Treasury Department and among the first five states to be approved.

Under Maryland’s State Small Business Credit Initiative plan, nine existing state business lending and investment programs have been expanded and enhanced. The programs are administered by three state agencies: the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Department of Commerce, and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.

The nine programs support businesses with limited opportunities for growth due to the pandemic or historic disinvestment. Maryland’s State Small Business Credit Initiatives target communities and areas with a high concentration of small, micro, and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual (SEDI) businesses to support ongoing state investments in underserved communities. Augmenting these proven and successful programs ensures quick and effective deployment of these new resources to eligible businesses and entrepreneurs. To complement these nine programs, the State Small Business Credit Initiative also provides eligible businesses with technical assistance, including legal, accounting, and financial advisory services.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development administers its $103 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative funding through three Neighborhood BusinessWorks initiatives. The Neighborhood BusinessWorks program has provided more than $70 million during the Hogan administration to finance new and expanding small businesses that support revitalization within Maryland’s designated Opportunity Zones, Priority Funding Areas, Sustainable Communities, and Community Development Financing Institution Investment Areas. These new federal resources significantly expanded capacity for Neighborhood BusinessWorks’ traditional Loan Participation Program, which assists eligible businesses with working capital and real estate acquisition. Neighborhood BusinessWorks also launched two new program initiatives. The Neighborhood BusinessWorks Loan to Lender initiative directly supports the revitalization and investment efforts of Community Development Financing Institutions, leveraging their unique community knowledge and partnerships by providing them with funds to re-lend to local small businesses. The Neighborhood BusinessWorks Venture Loans initiative supports strategic businesses with high economic impact and potential job growth.

The Maryland Department of Commerce is deploying its $45 million State Small Business Credit Initiative allocation through two Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority programs, a loan program and an equity investment program. Created in 1978 to promote the viability and expansion of Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual-led businesses, Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority resources are made available to small businesses that are unable to obtain adequate business financing on reasonable terms. In particular, the program has become a well-established resource to support the growth of minority and women-owned businesses. The Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority’s outreach and lending is bolstered by a network cultivated and grown over the years to include government agencies, local economic development organizations, banks, and private equity companies, as well as numerous business associations, chambers of commerce, and local professionals.

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation will funnel the $50 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative funds into four existing programs targeting technology-based Maryland businesses and entrepreneurs. Three programs – the Venture Equity Fund, Venture Capital Limited Partnership Equity program, and Seeds Funds Equity program – are primarily focused on venture capital and startup funding. The fourth, the Social Impact Fund, provides investment and support to entrepreneurs who demonstrate economic or social disadvantage. Through these four programs, TEDCO will continue to strengthen its relationships with top-tier technology companies, entrepreneurs, and investors in the state while collaborating with universities, regional business accelerators and incubators, and other organizations.

Supported by the expertise and experience of these state agencies, Maryland’s State Small Business Credit Initiatives provide a range of financing options and technical assistance that can support many new and growing businesses in Maryland. To learn more or apply for assistance, visit

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Expanding Opportunities

This article is featured in the 2022 edition of The Daily Record’s Expanding Opportunities Resource Guide for Small, Minority and Women Businesses that was published on Sept. 23. Published in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs, Expanding Opportunities explores diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation in Maryland’s small business community. Read more from Expanding Opportunities or read the digital edition.

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