by Karen Glenn Hood, DBED Marketing and Communications
Like many small business owners, Susan Aplin wanted to expand her business.
As the CEO of Bambeco, an eco-friendly home and housewares company based in Baltimore, Aplin saw opportunity in the ever-growing market for sustainable goods. She wanted to add employees, she wanted to increase her inventory and she wanted a bigger space.
So, last year, Aplin turned to the Maryland Venture Fund, a financing program of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), which has approved a $100,000 investment in the retailer, enabling the company to move forward on its goals for growth.
Bambeco is among the business success stories being highlighted in a series of ads that DBED began running this week on local radio and on WashingtonPost.com to connect Maryland small businesses that may not qualify for traditional bank financing with State resources. The 10-week Financing that Fits campaign promotes four of the State’s key financing programs that received the first round of $23 million of funding from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.
“The Financing that Fits campaign is part of a larger, ongoing effort by the State to address the needs of the many small businesses that are continuing to struggle to access credit,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “These four finance programs received additional federal funds targeted to help small businesses and we want to ensure that the businesses that need such assistance are aware that these programs exist and learn how they can benefit from them.”
In addition to Bambeco, the ads feature stories about Environmental Engineering and Construction and John L. Williams Funeral Home, as well as lender Harbor Bank, which has worked with DBED on several loan guarantee deals. The ads drive listeners and readers to the State’s economic development website ChooseMaryland.org, which has more information on the programs and provides a form that businesses can fill out which will be evaluated for potential financing by DBED staff.
The DBED programs promoted in the ads are the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), which provides credit guarantees to small businesses that may not meet established credit criteria; the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority (MIDFA), which provides loan guarantees; and the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), which invests in seed and early stage businesses to help with the cost of bringing a new product to market. Also included in the promotion is a program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Neighborhood Business Works, which provides gap financing to new or expanding small business and nonprofits in sustainable communities. In May 2010, Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios announced as part of a national effort to strengthen existing State finance programs that support lending to small business that Maryland would receive a total of $23 million for these programs, $7 million of which became available in June. Once those funds are expended, the programs can jointly draw down the remaining $16 million.