Are you an entrepreneur with the dream of opening your own business one day? Maybe you’re an existing small business needing some guidance on how to get through a challenging time, or how to take your small business to the next level? Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE) and the MCE Women’s Business Center are here for you.
MCE is driven by a vision to be a catalyst for small business success on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and across the state. It has assisted over 7,500 entrepreneurs, provided training to over 6,500 individuals, assisted in over 1,000 small business start-ups and/or expansions, and assisted in creating and retaining over 2,100 jobs.
“Empowering individuals to succeed in business creates jobs and increases prosperity among Maryland residents,” said Executive Director Maurice Ames. “Our free training, mentoring, and consulting services develop entrepreneurs armed with knowledge about best practices and the security of knowing, if they need us, we’re here.”
In addition to consulting and technical assistance, MCE’s services include: First Steps of Starting a Business; Learning to Develop a Business Plan; Choosing a Business Structure; Analyzing Your Credit; Selecting & Registering a Business Name; Getting Your Employer ID Number (EIN) and more. Access to business insurance and assistance navigating state, county, and local licensing and zoning requirements is also available.
When it comes to financing your small business, MCE can also provide capital where funding gaps exist. This is a critical component of their offerings since a shortfall of capital is one of the most-commonly cited reasons why a company is unable to expand business and succeed. The prospect of getting financing for a start-up, even in a growing economy, is very difficult since new business owners typically lack operating experience and don’t have a solid credit history.
MCE has made over $25 million in loans to small business owners. They offer several microlending options as well as construction loans.
“It takes money to make money, and MCE is able to provide critical funding for small and micro businesses that wish to start or expand their businesses,” Ames said. “We are the only micro-enterprise organization in the state of Maryland certified as an SBA, USDA, and CDFI intermediary lender.”
Founded in 1998 with the assistance of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Rural Development Center, MCE is a nonprofit organization. In 2013 MCE received funding through the SBA to establish the Women’s Business Centers in Maryland. They currently have centers in Salisbury and Baltimore working with women entrepreneurs to secure economic empowerment and industry success.
“Our approach is straightforward,” said Lisa Twilley, Director of MCE’s Women Business Center. “We provide individual consulting, mentoring, in person and online training opportunities, as well as monthly networking events.
On average, the MCE’s Women Business Center serves more than 300 clients a year and has drawn over 1,500 attendees to online training workshops so far in 2022. They have an exceptional program of educational workshops offered online in the form of live webinars that are open to anyone who wishes to participate. All of the educational programs hosted by the MCE Women’s Business Center are offered in partnership with MCE.
In 2023, MCE will celebrate its 25th anniversary of helping establish, grow and support small business on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and 10 years in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County. New clients are welcome. Start by completing a Client Intake Form on the MCE website.
MCE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax-deductible donations ensure that the services provided are free to the existing and future entrepreneurial community. Visit the Support MCE page online to make a donation.
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.