A Tribute to Congressman Elijah Cummings:

There comes a time when we must slow down, take a deep breath, and thank God for the life He has allowed us to live…and thank Him for the lives of others who have left their footprint for us to follow as a path toward a better future for coming generations. 

On Thursday, October 17th, we’re taking a few moments to thank God for the life of Congressman Elijah Cummings and his legacy of service.   We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge his legacy.  As the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce, we cherish those who have stayed the course, who have walked the walk, who have run the race for justice, equity and equality for all people.  Not forgetting Congressman Cummings’s deeply rooted passion and concern for people of color and for the communities and neighborhoods in the 7th District that he represented.  Specifically, West Baltimore where he resided and where he demonstrated great concern.

So on this day, the 17th of October, 2019, we pause for the cause of Congressman Elijah Cummings.    Let’s take to heart his legacy by coming together as a community……a West Baltimore community….. A Baltimore City community…. To come together to bring his vision to light.  That we once again become a community where we (all people in the community) prosper together.  Those that are striving to take care of their families, those who endeavor to own and run prosperous businesses….A vision of a thriving community ecosystem that serves all willing and able bodies…..with the right resources in place to serve those in need.  

Thank you Congressman Elijah Cummings for your example of a Servant Leader.  May God bless the Cummings Family and the person who attempts to fill his shoes!

-Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce Leadership

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Small Biz Bulletin - December 2019/January 2020

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

Happy Holidays!

Is this the time of year when you reflect on past accomplishments, or do you look ahead to the possibilities of the new year? As a small business owner, you're likely doing both. I hope you are also spending time with your family and friends this holiday season. The past cannot be changed and tomorrow is not a promise, so let's celebrate the people who bring joy to our lives today. My wish for you is peace and prosperity in the New Year.


Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary

For Your Business


Vendor Search Enhancement is Live in eMMA

The Office of State Procurement (housed within the Department of General Services) continues to make enhancements to the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) eProcurement platform. The Vendor Search function is now accessible from the primary landing page with no login required. There are a variety of search field options including name, commodity codes, and certifications. Two more enhancements are expected to go live in January - the Bid Holder List and Bid Tabulation. Watch for announcements about all of the enhancements when you login to your eMMA account. 

eMaryland Marketplace Advantage


TTC 2020 Classroom

2020 Technical Training Schedule

We are pleased to announce the 2020 schedule for our popular Technical Training Classroom. These free classes cover a broad range of topics to help small, minority, women, and veteran entrepreneurs improve managerial efficiencies and gain an insightful understanding of the government contracting arena. Registration is open for the January classes.

2020 Technical Training Classroom

RSG Honorees 12.2019

Ready, Set, GROW!

We hosted our final Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connections Workshop for 2019 at Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore earlier this month in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business. Participants had the opportunity to meet with 22 different buyers during the open networking session that followed valuable tips for navigating the state's procurement systems. We were happy to present three outstanding businesses with a Governor’s Citation in recognition of their contributions to Maryland’s small business community and the community at large. Congratulations!

  • Mahogany, Inc.
  • S&M Professional Cleaning Service, LLC
  • The Startup Nest, Inc.

Mark Your Calendar

Don't get stuck in the office all winter. Most business development events and training programs take place outside the office. We maintain a robust calendar of events on our website. It's updated regularly, so be sure to check back often. Here are just a few upcoming events:

01/07/2020 - Starting a Small Business
01/08/2020 - WOSB Certification Workshop for Government Contracting
01/09/2020 - Why Small Businesses Need Human Resources (HR)
01/16/2020 - 10,000 Small Businesses Program OPEN HOUSE
01/28/2020 - Prime Contracting Through the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program
01/28/2020 - MBE Rights & Responsibilities

Check out our full range of small business events
online at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov.

Happy Holidays 2018


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.

u s small business administration

National Small Business Week Awards. Hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek

Now Accepting Nominations

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Baltimore District Office is accepting nominations for the successful small business person who might become Maryland’s 2020 “Small Business Person of the Year” and compete for the national title during National Small Business Week, May 3-9, 2020. Nominees are also sought for Small Business Exporter of the Year and a variety of local award categories. The submission deadline is Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

“This is an excellent opportunity to promote your own business, a client or even an employee. It’s your chance to be recognized for all of your hard work and entrepreneurial spirit,” remarked SBA Baltimore District Director Steve Umberger.

Small Business Person of the Year nominees are judged on a variety of criteria, including staying power, growth in employment and sales, innovation of product or service and evidence of contributions to the community.

Local award categories include: Financial Services Champion, Home-Based Small Business, Minority-Owned Small Business, Veteran-Owned Small Business, Woman-Owned Small Business, Family-Owned Small Business, Entrepreneurial Success, Small Business Exporter, Young Entrepreneur, Rising Star Student Entrepreneur and three industry awards, the Accountant Champion, Insurance Advocate and Attorney Advocate.

Nominations can be made by an individual or an organization. The Maryland program accepts nominations for individuals or businesses operating within the City of Baltimore and all Maryland counties except Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, which are accepted through SBA’s Washington Metro Area District Office. Winners will be announced in late March 2020 and will be honored at the 36th Annual MD Small Business Week Awards Luncheon in Woodlawn, Md. on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Click here  to obtain nomination criteria and submission guidelines or email rachel.howard@sba.gov.

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. 

SBA Logo

Tax Cuts and Regulatory Reforms are putting the Economy on the Right Track

BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

While working for his family’s cleaning business, Guy Berkebile mixed chemicals in his bathroom to create better household products. This industrious spirit led him to mortgage his house and withdraw his entire life savings to pursue a dream. In 1995, he opened Guy Chemical Company, Inc. in a 3,000 square-foot rental space with the cheapest equipment he could find.

To make loan payments during the lean years, Berkebile kept his day job and spent evenings and weekends mixing and packaging his products – even hosting slumber parties for his kids while pulling all-nighters. Through hard work and vision, Guy Chemical expanded into a global company, occupying 40,000 square feet in Somerset, Pennsylvania, to accommodate growing orders.

Now, Berkebile is taking advantage of capital freed-up by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to invest in new equipment, and is ready to expand to 70,000 square feet. He purchased a 20-person company in Vermont, grew staff from 130 to 161 employees, and increased annual worker bonuses by as much as 50 percent with raises all around thanks to a 30% increase in sales he attributes to tax cuts.

President Donald J. Trump had taxpayers like Guy Berkebile in mind when he called for and signed the tax law last year, cutting corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% for 2018 and lowering income tax at nearly all levels. Tax cuts allow 30 million small businesses to plan more effectively and reinvest in their companies by expanding, hiring more employees and raising wages. To put it plainly, Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks following the cuts, and more than six million American workers have seen bonuses as well. That’s money spent on Main Street and stimulating the economy, putting kids through school, paying bills, and finally getting heads above water.

It’s working. The American economy is booming with the number of job openings surpassing the number of job seekers for the first time on record, and September’s unemployment rate was at 3.7% - the sixth straight month at 4% or below. Smart, business-friendly decisions have brought manufacturer optimism to a near-record level in the 20-year history of the National Association of Manufacturers’ survey, and small business optimism stands at its third highest level on record since the National Federation of Independent Business began its survey 45 years ago.

The SBA is here for small businesses because we understand they create two of every three new jobs in our country and are a source of stability and pride for our communities. Locally-owned businesses hire local and are more active in our communities; from mentoring other entrepreneurs to sponsoring local teams and more. And, statistically, more locally-owned business earnings stay local to support everything from schools to infrastructure. I promise each and every one of you that our SBA team will continue to keep this Administration’s commitment to empower entrepreneurs.


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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