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Small Biz Bulletin - January 2024

Maria Martinez


Happy New Year fellow small business owners and entrepreneurs. As you reflect on the past year’s experiences and lessons learned and plan your goals and objectives for 2024, I hope you will include your legislators in your plan. The 446th session of the Maryland General Assembly begins on January 15, 2024 in Annapolis. The men and women elected to serve in both chambers of the legislature (Maryland State Senate) and Maryland House of Delegates) will consider more than 2,000 pieces of legislation as well as the state's annual budget during the 90-day session. The Moore-Miller administration is eager to build an inclusive economy featuring small businesses and entrepreneurs in a central role. The legislative process works best when all stakeholders are engaged. This is particularly true for small business owners. You can shape the legislation and regulations that will affect your business's operations and profitability by speaking up and getting involved. That starts by connecting with your representatives and sharing your valuable perspectives. You can even offer testimony (written or live) on the pieces of proposed legislation that are the most important to you and your business. I invite you to use the link below to visit the Maryland General Assembly webpage where you can identify your representatives, track legislation, and watch livestream activities in both chambers throughout the legislative session. I hope to see you in Annapolis this Session as we work together to build an economy that leaves no one behind. 


Maria Martinez
Special Secretary

Maryland General Assembly

Socioeconomic Program Seals


Program Seals Available

The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs now offers program seals for all three of Maryland's socioeconomic procurement programs. Firms holding certification in the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Reserve (SBR), or Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) programs are invited to download the seals for use on print, online, or digital materials. What a great way to show your pride in being a certified vendor in one, or all three, of these programs. Certification status will be verified during the solicitation process. The seals are available online in high resolution format. Just right click on the image and save the file to your device. 

Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs


MD Tax Connect

Comptroller to Launch New
Online Business Taxpayer

The Comptroller of Maryland recently announced a new online portal for Maryland business taxpayers called Maryland Tax Connect. The portal is designed to allow taxpayers to securely complete important functions themselves from either a mobile devise or a desktop. The portal's full functionality will roll out in phases. By 2026 all Maryland taxpayers will be able to pay their state taxes and interact with the Office of the Comptroller through the Maryland Tax Connect Portal. Businesses should be aware of the following important information to ensure a smooth transition:

  • The last day to use the current bFile application is January 22, 2024. Incomplete returns will no longer be available after this date. 
  • A welcome letter with instructions on how to register for a Maryland Tax Connect account will be mailed to all active business taxpayers in February 2024.
  • With the new system, you will notice improvements in the appearance of tax forms and the overall online experience. The form numbers have not changed, but there are several formatting changes to the layout.

Visit the Maryland Tax Connect webpage to stay informed as the new portal comes online. You can also call the Taxpayer Services Division at 1-800-638-2937 or 410-260-7980. 

Maryland Tax Connect



MBE Certification

The Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Office of Minority Business Enterprise serves as the state's official certification unit for the state of Maryland's Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program. As required by Maryland law, the state’s MBE Program adjusts its Personal Net Worth (PNW) cap annually based on the Consumer Price Index. MDOT recently announced the PNW cap for the 2024 calendar year has increased to $2,073,412. In addition to meeting the personal net worth cap, applicant firms must also meet eligibility requirements for minority status, ownership, control and size. Once certified, firms must renew annually. The certification process ensures that bona fide disadvantaged firms receive the MBE designation in support of the state's minority business inclusion efforts. Call the Office of Minority Business Enterprise at 410-865-1269 or visit them online to learn more about the certification process.

Office of Minority Business Enterprise


Happy New Year

Small Business New Year's Resolutions

Did you make a New Year resolution to declutter your home, workout more often, or take an international vacation? For small business owners, business resolutions can be powerful tools to help achieve greater success. Start by thinking about what went wrong last year, what went right, and how things can get better. Do you need to trim expenses, attract new customers, or expand into new markets? Be strategic, resilient and make a commitment to change. Check out these five tips to help you set the stage for a prosperous 2024. 

Five Practical Small Business New Year's Resolutions for 2024

TIPS Webinar Series


T.I.P.S. Webinar Series

Improve core competencies and gain an insightful understanding of the state's procurement by attending our T.I.P.S. (Training and Insights for Procurement Success) Webinar Series. We offer two free classes every month on topics carefully curated to help you learn to compete with confidence. If you want to do business with the State of Maryland, our T.I.P.S. webinar series is a must. There is no cost to participate, just register in advance to receive the participation link.  

Never stop learning! Visit the T.I.P.S. Webinar Series webpage to download the slide deck of last month's classes and check out our YouTube Playlist to view any of the recorded sessions you may have missed over the past year.

T.I.P.S. Webinar Series
T.I.P.S. Webinar Series Playlist

eMMA Vendor Training

eMMA Vendor Training

The State of Maryland is dedicated to facilitating an open and transparent procurement process. To ensure all businesses have the opportunity to participate in the contracting process, the Maryland Procurement Academy (MDPA) and Office of State Procurement (OSP) offer a variety of online resources to help vendors effectively use eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA), Maryland’s online procurement platform. Visit the Vendor Training and Support page to view the schedule of upcoming virtual instructor-led sessions and access the vendor web channel of on-demand video content. 

eMMA Vendor Training and Support

Register Today


Stay connected to the many opportunities for training, networking, and business development that are taking place across Maryland and on virtual platforms. Here is a highlight of some of the events coming up this month.

1/09/2024 - Planning for Business Ownership
1/10/2024 - Prioritize to Prosper in 2024
1/10/2024 - First Steps to Starting Your Own Business
1/16/2024 - How to do Business with Montgomery County
1/16/2024 - Access to Capital for Your Small Business
1/17/2024 - Business Plan & Cash Flow Projections
1/23/2024 - T.I.P.S. Webinar Series: Doing Business with the State of Maryland
1/24/2024 - A Fresh Twist on Marketing
1/25/2024 - T.I.P.S. Webinar Series: Mastering Your Website for Business Success

Check out the full listing of small business events online at

We Want You

We Want You!

We continually share information curated specifically for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses on our social media channels. We'll inspire you with our #MotivationMonday series and connect you to a broad range of small business resources, events, and training programs. Please join our social media community and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X

Disparity Study

Leave No One Behind! 
As a unit of the Executive Department, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects members of the small, minority, women, and veteran business communities to greater economic opportunities. Learn more by visiting our website at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov and connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn, and X (formerly Twitter).

FORBES: Entrepreneurship is Core to Civil Rights: A Conversation With National Urban League President And CEO Marc H. Morial

By: Rhett Buttle

  • Founded in 1910, the National Urban League (NUL) now has over 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 36 states and Washington, D.C., that are dedicated to helping African-Americans and others in underserved communities achieve their highest true social parity, economic self-reliance, power, and civil rights. NUL supports small business & entrepreneurship among historically underserved communities as a key part of their agenda. 

Read the full article here.

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearing on:

Improving Access to Capital in Underserved Communities: The Community Advantage Program, Microloans, and other SBA Initiatives



Mr. Jon Gaines, Vice President, Business Services & Finance, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

Mr. Nick Schwellenbach, Senior Investigator, Project on Government Oversight

Mr. Robert Villarreal, Chief External Affairs Officer, Momentus Capital-CDC Small Business Finance

Ms. Annemarie Murphy, Executive Vice President, President of SBA Lending, First Bank of the Lake

Summary: The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on Improving Access to Capital in Underserved Communities: The Community Advantage Program, Microloans, and other SBA Initiatives. Members and witnesses discussed the need for better oversight and support of SBA lending programs to better serve entrepreneurs in underserved communities. The hearing demonstrated bipartisan support for increasing the SBA’s resources to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, however, both parties agree that the SBA must take care to implement proper guardrails to prevent fraud, and bias in lending, and to conduct proper oversight of its lenders. Members also discussed the SBA’s recent proposal to lift the moratorium on the Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) program, and while many were in support of the rule, Members and witnesses stressed a need to ensure fintech lenders are held to the same standards as other SBA lenders if they were to gain SBLC licenses.

Opening Statements

Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD): Access to capital is the lifeblood of any business but is even more critical for small businesses. Small businesses in underserved communities have lacked access to capital at disproportionate rates. While large banks approved 60% of loans sought by white borrowers, businesses of color faced acceptance rates of between 29%-50% depending on their racial identity. The SBA 7(a) loan program remains a widely recognized tool to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs. This year the SBA approved over 47,000 7(a) loans and many of these borrowers would be unable to access capital elsewhere. However, of those 7(a) loans, only 4% went to Black business owners and 15% went to women. The Community Advantage (CA) program can bridge this gap and we must make it permanent; I have introduced legislation to do so and have high hopes for the legislation in the next Congress. Compared to 7(a), Black business owners received 20% of CA loans and women received 32%. The CA program therefore does an excellent job of addressing the credit gap and is a key tool to providing capital access for entrepreneurs who need it most. The SBA microloan program also provides credit to underbanked entrepreneurs. Microloan borrowers have the most difficult time accessing capital elsewhere and reported they were unable to find financing from traditional banks had it not been for a CA lender. I support SBA’s efforts to level the playing field for small businesses through recent rulemaking initiatives, however guardrails are essential in these programs to protect borrowers and lenders in the program; we need to ensure the SBA’s programs are helping small businesses as intended.


T: 202-971-3450 W: PRISMGROUP.GLOBAL

Become a USBC Member

Watch Now! USBC 2022 Policy Breakfast During Congressional Black Caucus Week

2022 USBC Policy Breakfast - Congressional Black Caucus Week

On Tuesday, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. kicked off Congressional Black Caucus week with its annual policy breakfast. The 2022 USBC Policy Brunch was very insightful and informative with special remarks from Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Emanuel Clever II, and USBC Chairman of the Board Charles O'Neal. 

USBC President & CEO Ron Busby Sr. delivered his President Address on the BLACKprint - a set of principles that guide the organization's policy agenda.

Guests enjoyed conversations on The Future of Digital Currency with Cleve Mesidor and The New Black Commerce moderated by Howard Jean (CEO Black Meta Agency), Erin Cohee (VP Digital Innovation, OneUnited Bank), Courtney Robinson (Global Head of Financial Inclusion & Policy Development Block) and LaKisha Greenwade. 

The event was made possible by sponsors Crypto.com, Block, NCTA, and Caesars. 

Thank you to all of our sponsors and attendees. USBC members can watch the broadcast of the 2022 USBC Policy Breakfast on Friday, October 7 at 1:00 PM EST via USBC Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels.

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. | programs@usblackchambers.org | usblackchambers.org

Connect with us

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GBBCC Participates in Roundtable with SBA USBC in March

Leaving the Black Business Footprint at the DC Capital - USBC National Conference, July 15, 2022,

(left to right):  Alicea Gay, the Voice USBC's ByBlack Initiative, Debra Keller-Greene, GBBCC Board Chair, and USBC's VP Alisa Joseph.  

Maryland State Directory of New Hire


Report new hires

Employers must re-report returning employees as new hires.

All new and returning employees must be reported within 20 days of hire or returning to work.

New hire reporting helps children and families get the child support they need. 
It also helps detect fraud in the unemployment system. 

Reporting new hires online has many benefits:

  • Fast and secure online entry or upload
  • Reports are more accurate, reducing the need to resend reports later

  • It's FREE! No more paper, postage or other material costs!

The Maryland State Directory of New Hire is available to take your new hire reports via our website MD-newhire.com

Phone: (888) 634-4737 | Fax: (888) 657-3534


State of Maryland Financial Resources & Services 

Department of Human Services Resources & Financial Assistance



The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) is the state’s primary social service provider. Our mission is to aggressively pursue opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide prevention services, and protect vulnerable children and adults.

DHSs website, https://dhs.maryland.gov/, hosts a wealth of information about the agency’s many services and programs, as well as additional resources, for Maryland families and individuals in need of assistance:

• DHS offers several financial assistance options to support individuals and families experiencing trying times. If eligible, you can receive cash assistance for rent, utilities, and many other emergency financial burdens.


• You do not have to weather the tough times alone. DHS services include, financial, medical, and more. Learn more at  https://dhs.maryland.gov/weathering-tough-times/.

• The Department of Human Services is providing updated information to Marylanders regarding our services, operations, and other important resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay informed by visiting our Coronavirus Covid-19 Resources web page at https://dhs.maryland.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-resources/.

myDHR/myMDTHINK Consumer Portal

Marylanders can get information, apply for DHS programs and services, and check the status of applications online at  mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/dashboardClient/#/home

SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, helps low-income households buy healthy food. Click here to download the Income Guidelines. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.usPeople who have little or no money may qualify for SNAP benefits right away.
TemporaryCash Assistance (TCA) TCA provides temporary cash assistance to families with dependent children. TCA also prepares participants for independence through work programs. Click here to download the Income Guidelines. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/ to file your application.
Officof Home Energy Assistance Programs (OHEP) OHEP offers help to Marylanders who are facing potential energy shut-offs or having difficulty paying their energy bills. You do not need a turn-off notice to qualify for assistance; eligibility for energy assistance is based on your income. Please also contact your Local Home Energy Program Office at https://dhs.maryland.gov/office-of-home-energy-programs/local-home-energy-program-office/  to speak to a dedicated OHEP specialist who will guide you through all your options for energy assistance. Learn more about energy assistance at  https://dhs.maryland.gov/office-of-home-energy-programs/
Emergency Cash Assistance to Families with Children (EAFC) EAFC provides cash assistance to families who have at least one child under the age of 21 living with them, and need emergency paying rent, utilities, or other urgent bills. Apply online: Go to https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/ to file your application.

 Full PDF Download: State of Maryland Resources.pdf

Baltimore City Procurement Database- Interested in doing business in Baltimore? Click here to learn how you can be a city contractor. 

Anne Arundel County Procurement Database- Anne Arundel County has their new contractor database up and running. This database will be a resource to all the agencies when looking for small businesses for procurement opportunities. The Anne Arundel County eProcurement system will be known as P.O.R.T. (Procurement Operations Resource Technology). Click here to learn more. 

State of Maryland Procurement Database- EMMA is the new E Maryland Marketplace Advantage website for procurement opportunities. You can see contract opportunities and contact instructions to help you get connected to the right people. Click here to learn more

MDOT Certification- Ever consider doing business with the State of Maryland? If you have plans to grow, the certification process could open up new opportunities for new revenue. Click here to learn more.

Baltimore Demographics- Ever wonder where to find info on demographics in Baltimore? Click here to see this summary by the Census Bureau.

Maryland Wealth- Interested in seeing stats on Maryland's wealth and its tax revenue for each city and county? Click here to view the report from the Department of Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis.

Connect with City Leadership- Want to attend a Board of Estimates meeting or Baltimore City Council meeting to hear from our elected officials? Check out the schedule at: http://www.baltimorecitycouncil.com/complete-calendar

U.S. Economy- Interested in how the U.S. economy is doing? Here is the most current information from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: https://www.bea.gov/news/glance

Maryland Sick and Safe Leave Information
-by Janice Walker-Emeogo

The law states that leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours that an employee works. An employee is not entitled to accrue sick and safe leave during (1) a 2 week pay period in which the employee worked fewer than 24 total hours; (2) a 1 week pay period if the employee worked fewer than a combined total of 24 hours in the current and immediately preceding pay period; or (3) a pay period in which the employee is paid twice per month and worked fewer than 26 hours in the pay period. The leave hours provided for under the law are the minimum number of hours an employee is entitled to earn and accrue. An employer may provide more leave for its employees.

Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) 6 and 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. 1325 Bedford Avenue, Suite 5941; Pikesville, MD 21282-7510

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