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Small Biz Bulletin - Special Edition

April 8, 2020

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

COVID-19 Surge Expected

Within hours of our last bulletin to you, Governor Larry Hogan took further actions to protect our small business community. Last Friday, he expanded a previous executive order to prohibit commercial and industrial property evictions. The order also temporarily prohibits mortgage foreclosures, and the repossession of cars and trucks. This action was taken in collaboration with nearly 70 of Maryland's largest banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and other financial entities that understand the importance of providing flexibility to borrowers amidst the current economic conditions. You may be eligible for 90 days of payment forbearance or deferral of some loan payments. Contact your creditors directly to discuss your options. 

Just yesterday, Governor Hogan toured the field hospital site at the Baltimore Convention Center. He announced the designation of the Baltimore-Washington Corridor as an emerging hot spot, and that further demographic breakdowns on race and ethnicity will be provided for COVID-19 case data. This information will help our leadership ensure that the most affected areas are getting the public health resources they need as we prepare for the surge expected over the next two weeks.

Your actions make a big difference. Please continue following the governor's executive orders and guidance. Tough times do not last, but tough people do. Stay healthy and stay informed as we weather this storm together.

COVID-19 Pandemic: Orders and Guidance

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary

For Your Business

Annual Report and Personal Property Tax Return Deadline
Extended to July 15

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) recently announced the 2020 deadline to submit Annual Reports and Personal Property Tax Returns will be automatically extended to July 15 as part of the Hogan administration’s response to COVID-19. Expiration dates for trade names and name reservations, as well as entity forfeiture dates, will also be extended to 30 days after the state of emergency is rescinded. SDAT's filings and applications may be downloaded, printed, and mailed, but customers are strongly encouraged to complete transactions online when possible. Any paper-based submissions will take significantly longer to process throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis. At this time, phone lines have limited staffing or are only accepting voicemails. Visit the website for more information, and sign up to receive reminders and news updates.

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation


SBR Recertification

The small business community has access to over $400 million in prime contracting opportunities on state-funded contracts through the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program. SBR certification takes place in the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) platform. Once certified, firms must recertify annually. Firms that do not complete the online recertification process in eMMA by the renewal date are automatically removed from the program and are not eligible to receive a designated SBR contract. They must complete the application process again to rejoin the program. If you are certified as an SBR vendor, please visit your eMMA vendor profile to determine your recertification date. If you are not in the program or missed your recertification date, please complete the SBR certification process today. Utilize this quick reference guide.

SBR Certification/Recertification Quick Reference Guide


MBE Program Update

The Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE), while operating under the governor's social distancing directives, will continue to process requests for certification. Applicants will be contacted by telephone to perform the required interview with the owner(s). The mandatory on-site visit at your place of business will be performed when business operations return to normal. Firms that are currently certified should continue to submit Annual Renewal documentation as requested. Use of the on-line portal is recommended as the most efficient way to submit the required documentation. New applications for certification and expansion of services requests are being accepted, but they will not be processed for the next 30 days. An OMBE officer will be in contact with applicants when we return to normal business operations. Check the website for more information. 

Office of Minority Business Enterprise


Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The federal CARES Act has expanded unemployment insurance benefits nationwide, giving access to sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed workers. The Maryland Department of Labor is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Labor to create new IT systems, modify the current platforms, and train staff in order to implement these new programs. Maryland will provide all three expanded unemployment programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Upon availability, benefits will be paid back to the earliest date of eligibility. Please use the link below to monitor progress as these programs come online, and sign up to receive an email update when filing opens for PUA benefits. 

Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance


SBA Daily Calls & Webinars

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting daily webinars and conference calls to help small business owners understand and apply for the coronavirus relief options. The SBA offers these programs: Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loan, SBA Debt Relief.

  • 3:00 pm – Daily Conference Call
    202-765-1264; ID # 827-299-626
  • 5:30 pm – Daily Conference Call
    202-765-1264; ID # 310-688-488
  • 10:30 am and 8:00 pm – Zoom Webinar (download the ZOOM app for free)
    Meeting # 6794772946
    Have all your necessary documents ready

Federal Coronavirus Relief Options

Maryland flag with state house dome in background

“I know that there’s a lot of anxiety out there and a lot
of stress. Folks are worried about what lies ahead and how we’re going to get through this. We’re all worried about our family members and our loved ones, about our communities and neighborhoods. But I want everybody in Maryland to know that if we continue to lead, we continue to work together, and if we rely on  and help each other, we will get through this crisis.”

                      - Governor Larry Hogan

Learn how you can donate and volunteer.


Maryland is OPEN for Business. As a coordinating office for Governor Larry Hogan, the Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects small businesses, including those owned by minorities, women, and veterans to greater economic opportunities.  Learn more by visiting our website at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @goMDsmallbiz.

Read here: https://bmorenews.com/2020/03/11/the-glover-report-carl-stokes-stands-for-black-businesses-in-baltimore/

Mayor's Corner

March 3, 2020

Census 2020: Baltimore Counts

Mayor's Census Message

Census Day is approaching!

Every Baltimore resident must be counted to ensure we get our fair share of federal funds for essential programs that cover health care, education, housing, economic development and transportation, and to strengthen our political representation at the state and federal levels. 

Your invitation to participate will be mailed to you in mid-March. You can now respond to the Census online, over the phone, or with the form that will be mailed to you from the Census Bureau. The Census only takes 10 minutes, and to ensure that you don’t have an in-person follow-up from the Census Bureau be sure to respond before May 1!

It will take a team comprised of city officials, community agencies, and YOU, the passionate residents of our beloved Baltimore to make sure #BmoreCounts in 2020. If you would like to bring a presentation about the Census to your community, please sign up here

For more information on the 2020 Census,visit census2020.baltimorecity.gov or
call 410-396-4900.

Clean and Safe Initiative

Last week I launched the Clean and Safe Initiative as part of my Clean it Up! Campaign. This initiative will collaborate with community organizations to develop and implement tailored action plans designed to meet the specific needs of each community.

The following neighborhood partners were identified using data-informed research: Penn North, Broadway East, Carrollton Ridge, and Milton Montford.

Upton Mansion to Serve as New Home for the AFRO

Upton Mansion

Last week I announced that the Afro-American Newspaper has been granted development rights for the historic Upton Mansion in West Baltimore. I am extremely excited that this historic mansion will be the new home of the Afro American Newspapers. Afro Charities and Afro-American Newspapers are valued institutions in Baltimore with a rich history of public service and community engagement. Connecting this historic institution to this historic structure is a wonderful achievement for the Upton community and Baltimore. We look forward to the redevelopment of this historic landmark.

Community Intelligence Centers to Provide Holistic Approach to Crime


On January 28th, Mayor Young traveled to Chicago to see the city’s Strategic Decision Support Centers.

On January 31st, I testified at a joint hearing of the Judicial Proceedings and Judiciary Committees of the Maryland General Assembly with Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and States’ Attorney Marilyn Mosby. At the hearing, I announced a new initiative, the Baltimore Community Intelligence Centers (BCIC). Based on the Strategic Decision Support Center model used in Los Angeles and Chicago, the BCICs will be staffed by interdisciplinary teams made up of police, prosecutors, analysts, community liaisons, and service providers to provide a holistic and community-based approach to crime in Baltimore. Working in lockstep, the BCIC teams will coordinate on intelligence gathering, collection, and dissemination; facilitate intelligence led deployment strategies; track and investigate crime trends and patterns; collaborate with outside units; and provide direct referrals and information to service providers in the city.

Lexington Market Redevelopment Launched

Lexington Market

Last week I joined Governor Larry Hogan, Councilman Eric Costello, Baltimore Public Markets Chair Colin Tarbert, along with Seawall Development and Lexington Market officials and vendors, as well as other partners integral to the project, to celebrate the official groundbreaking for the redevelopment of Baltimore's historic Lexington Market.

This is a momentous effort for the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and it would not be possible without the support from Governor Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly. Lexington Market's next chapter represents an incredible opportunity for our City, and it is essential that we support the equitable redevelopment and revitalization of this iconic hub for delicious food and homegrown entrepreneurship, as we continue to build Baltimore.

Lexington Market, the country's longest continuously operating market, will undergo a $40 million transformation that calls for a new Market building to be constructed on the existing South parking lot, and to demolish the current Arcade to make way for a pedestrian plaza on Lexington Street. The plan allows the current East Market building, where more than 50 vendors operate, to remain open throughout the duration of the project. The new and expanded Lexington Market is expected to open in mid-2021.

Black History Month Youth Celebration at City Hall

Black History Month at City Hall

Thank you to everyone who joined us at City Hall on February 18th for our Black History Month Youth Celebration. We had a great time celebrating Black arts and culture with song, dance and amazing drumming by students from Connexions: A Community-Based Arts School and a mesmerizing spoken word performance by Lady Brion Gill.

Mayor's Office of Children & Family Success Launches Strategic Framework

Office of Children and Family Success Strategic Framework Launch

One of my first actions as Mayor was creating the Mayor's Office of Children & Family Success to make sure all of our children and families have access to the resources and supports they need to thrive. I am proud of the work the office has done in its first six months under the leadership of Tisha Edwards, including the creation—in partnership with community—of a strategic framework to guide our work on behalf of children and families.

We now have a roadmap and I’m excited about the next six months and the path forward. And I especially want to thank all the community members who attended community design sessions, submitted online surveys and participated in dozens of meetings to helped shape this strategic framework.

Find out more about the plan or contact the office at 410-545-1938.

Baltimore Day in Annapolis

Baltimore Day in Annapolis

Thank you to everyone who joined us on February 3rd for Baltimore Day in Annapolis. It was great to have so many people join us to learn more about our legislative priorities for the 2020 session and engage with our city agencies and local and legislative leaders.

Baltimore's Legislative Priorities for the 2020 General Assembly session

Clean it Up! Campaign

Clean it Up! Campaign

On January 29th, I launched the Clean it Up! Campaign, a new data-driven initiative that is providing direction and accountability for our city’s cleaning efforts.

This bold and aggressive plan to tackle the city’s trash and grime is an all-hands-on-deck partnership that will require strongly accelerated work efforts by multiple city agencies along with committed resident and community participation. 

The goal of this campaign is to rebuild a cleaner Baltimore for our residents and visitors to enjoy, by implementing eight data-informed cleaning operations that include:

Eliminating the Cleaning Backlog – Eliminating the backlog of key 311 cleaning service requests including street, alley and vacant lot cleaning - by April 1st to deliver on-time, equitable service to residents in 2020 and beyond.

Holding Repeat Violators Accountable – We are doubling down on enforcement measures to respond to the small number of people and businesses responsible for repeat sanitation violations such as illegal dumping.

Mayor's Pothole Challenge – On Feb 12th we launched a 50-day pothole-filling challenge.

Small Haulers Pilot – Piloting an expansion of the small haulers program to reduce barriers and encourage more participation in this already successful program.

Care-A-Lot Expansion – I have  committed additional support to expand the Care-A-Lot program - which empowers communities to beautify their own neighborhoods.

Clean & Safe Communities – Under my direction, CitiStat is reviewing data and identifying neighborhoods for focused cleaning and safety efforts.

Gateways Initiative – Cleaning efforts on 19 roads with the most traffic and the biggest cleanliness challenges.

Communities Pitch-In – Communities can now partner with the city to do community cleanups by calling 311 to submit a service request.

More information on the Clean it Up! Campaign

Point in Time Count

Point in Time Count

Thank you to everyone who joined us on January 26 for the Point in Time Count. This count will allow us to appropriately address local needs, measure our progress in preventing and ending homelessness and identify strengths and gaps in our current homelessness response system.

My administration’s three-year Action Plan on Homelessness aims to address the root causes of homelessness, while also responding immediately and effectively to the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness each day in our City. 

U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting

Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting

Last month, I joined mayors from around the country at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. I had an opportunity to speak to other mayors about public safety, climate change and what we can do about the rule changes to the SNAP program. It’s great to be able to learn from other mayors and share ideas and solutions to help improve America’s cities.

I am proud to serve as Co-Chair of the Food Policy Taskforce for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. My co-chair Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock  and Ellen Vollinger from the Food Research & Action Center and I led a discussion about ongoing attempts to undermine the SNAP program and what we can do about it. We’ve been speaking out against these rule changes for the past year, and we are committed to continuing to fight back and stand up against these calculated attacks on our proven safety nets.

Upcoming Events

Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund (NIIF) Community Investment Update

Thursday, March 5, 1:00 pm
Southern Baptist Church, 1701 N Chester St.

Launched one year ago in partnership with the City of Baltimore, NIIF is an independent 501(c)(3) organization working in alignment with the City to promote community development and enhance inclusive economic growth in our neighborhoods.  At the meeting, NIIF will provide an update on its investing activities and other progress since its formation.  Mayor Jack Young has been invited to provide welcoming remarks.  More info and registration

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Sunday, March 15
Shamrock 5K 1pm; Parade 2pm steps off from the Washington Monument.

Baltimore’s St. Patrick Parade is truly the jewel in Maryland’s emerald crown. For more than 60 years, thousands of spectators from the region have crowded the streets and sidewalks of downtown Baltimore and the famous Inner Harbor to watch thousands more march and celebrate Irish culture, music, song, and dance. More info

Mayor Young's State of the City Address

Monday, March 23, 10:30 am. Doors open at 9:30.
Coppin State University, James Weldon Johnson Auditorium, 2500 W. North Ave.

The annual State of the City Address will be open to the public this year, and will stream live on charmtvbaltimore.com. If you would like to attend, RSVPs are required. Photo ID will be required for entrance. Seating is first come, first serve. Paid parking available on site at Coppin State University. More info and RSVP

Mayor’s Spring Cleanup

Saturday, April 18, 9am-1pm

Registration for the Mayor’s Spring Cleanup has opened.  Community leaders from all over Baltimore can call to register their neighborhoods and volunteers for participation in this big cleaning event. Call 311 now to be sure your community is a part of this great cleaning event.  Registration closes Friday, April 9.

Baltimore College Signing Day

Friday, May 1, 10am-1pm
Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St.

Baltimore is hosting College Signing Day 2020 to celebrate our high school seniors and to make sure they launch strong into their next life chapter. Inspired by and aligned to Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s national Reach Higher initiative, we want to make sure all our young people have what they need to pursue a post-secondary education—through professional training, the military, community college or a four-year college or university. The day will feature representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities, live performances, special guests and speakers and free college swag. More info

January 2020

The Business Break

Your small business matters

Hello The Greater Baltimore Black,

This month, The Business Break is looking out for your business with tips on everything from avoiding some common pitfalls to low-cost promotional efforts:

Payroll: We want to help you avoid common payroll mistakes
Finances: Save yourself the headache and keep your business and personal finances separate
Promotions: Check out these suggestions on how to grow your business inexpensively

Scroll down to see what’s most relevant to you:

Payroll pitfalls

6 tips to avoid common payroll mistakes

You got into business because you enjoy what you do, not to do paperwork! But with a little prep and attention, you can avoid time-consuming (and possibly costly) payroll errors.

Don’t miss this list
Finances – Business insights

Keeping business and personal finances separate

There are a lot of advantages to being a small business owner. So, make sure you can take advantage of them by separating out your business finances.

Review insights

Promotions - Promotional efforts

Inexpensive ways to build a small business

You can do a lot to promote your business without spending a ton of money to get it done. We’ve compiled 8 great ideas for you so you can get out there without breaking the budget.

Get ideas now

Starting a new business? Looking to grow?
We can get you on the right path. Check out our Learning & Insights resource center!

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.

The Opportunity Zone program is a nationwide initia​tive ​administered by the U.S. Treasury created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Job​s Act. The program provides federal tax incentives for investment in distressed communities over the next 10 years. Areas designated as Opportunity Zones will be able to reap the benefits of capital gains to help redevelop underserved communities.

Visit the website here
to learn more: 

The GBBCC Business Development Committee is following the progress of this initiative to ensure black-owned businesses are engaged in this economic development initiative.  Please review the information below, and if you have any questions about opportunities in any of the Greater Baltimore Regions (Baltimore City, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Harford Counties), please send your questions to:  gbbchamber@gmail.com

The Opportunity Zone program is a nationwide initiative created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The program provides federal tax incentives for investment in distressed communities over the next 10 years. Areas designated as Opportunity Zones will be able to reap the benefits of capital gains to help redevelop underserved communities.

Of the 149 Census Tracts in Maryland designated as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Treasury, 42 are in Baltimore City. For a list of Census Tracts in Baltimore City designated as Opportunity Zones, please click here. For a map of Opportunity Zones in Baltimore City, please click here.

For a map of all 149 Opportunity Zones, please visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/OpportunityZones.aspx.

For more information about Opportunity Zones, please visit Economic Innovation Group or the U.S. Treasury at https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx.

Water Reclamation Feasibility Study

Weller Development Company, LLC (“Developer”) is seeking qualifications from consultants and engineers who have significant expertise in water reclamation facilities (“Respondent”).
Copyright © 2018 Weller Development Company, All rights reserved. 

Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization. 1325 Bedford Avenue, Suite 5941; Pikesville, MD 21208

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