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

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.



(410) 340-8633


Book release: ‘Servant Leadership’ five-book series by best-selling author Kevin Wayne Johnson


August 5, 2019 – Clarksville, Maryland (USA) – Employees at all levels in the workplace feel undervalued, marginalized and underappreciated in more ways than one. U.S. companies spent $160 billion on employee training and education, yet:

v  58% of managers said they did not receive any management training.

v  79% of people quit their job due to lack of appreciation.

v  77% of organizations report they are currently experiencing a leadership gap.

v  Only 10% of CEOs believe their company’s leadership development initiatives have a clear business impact.

v  63% of Millennials said their leadership skills were not being fully developed.


To reverse this disturbing trend, Leadership With A Servant’s Heart is a new series of books with you in mind. They will equip the front-line, mid-level and senior-level leaders of small, medium and large organizations, and churches, with practical and proven leadership principles, strategies, facts and real-time examples with the sole purpose of creating a new and dynamic cadre of leaders. Through the subtitle for book #1 – Leading through Personal Relationships – the principle goal is to teach, coach, mentor and share the concepts of leading others by valuing and caring for them. While it is true that “Many will not remember what you say, but most will remember how you make them feel,” the readers of this book will learn the truth of this emotion and how to effect change in their respective leadership styles. When leaders value and care for those that they are entrusted to lead, their influence increases exponentially.

Leadership With A Servant’s Heart” is systematically divided into three parts, three chapters each, to emphasize the core characteristics of a servant leader – serving, inspiring and leading:

Part I - The Key to Servant Leadership: Serving Others

Part II - The Goal of Servant Leadership: Inspiring Others

Part III - The Result of Servant Leadership: Leading Others


Foreword by: Mr. Ed DeCosta, Founder of EDC University and Author of “Ascend” and “Release Your Superhero” and senior trainer/coach with The John Maxwell Team

Genres: Leadership/Christian Living/Spirituality/Personal Growth/Business/Relationships

ISBN: 978-0-9883038-5-0 /© 2019

Trade Soft cover / 235 pages / Edited by: Fresh Eyes Proofreading and Editing

Retail Price: $24.95 U.S.A. / €22.30 Euro / £19.90 U.K. / $32.70 Canada

Dimensions: 5.5” x 8.5”

Publication date: September 3, 2019


Praise for Leadership with a Servant’s Heart:

"Kevin Johnson has created a valuable resource to accelerate leadership development with a Servants' heart. His foundation of scripture supported by practical business examples, cases, and models provide a detailed guide for the growth-minded leader.”

Nigel Adams

Owner, Adams Consulting LLC and C12 Group Chair, Washington DC Metro Region

Former Vice President, Customer Service - JetBlue Airways 


“It is obvious that Kevin Johnson is a spirit-driven, kind and generous family man, servant of God and leader of men because he has lovingly crafted a book that speaks to those very traits.  Quoting Kevin, “leadership is not convenient.”  Being a leader and taking on a leadership role is a tremendous responsibility, and a frequent sacrifice.  The characteristic of quality leadership is a gift from God and to whom much is given, much is required.”

- Joan M. Pratt, CPA, Comptroller, City of Baltimore, Maryland


“This book certainly packs a punch, it is loaded with solid statistics aligned with scriptural references. Highly recommended for men and women who want to be successful leaders in any field.”  

 - Dr. Reg Morais

Founder, Anoint the World Ministries

Founder & Senior Pastor, Living Faith Community Church Global, Perth, Western Australia


“I commend to you Kevin Johnson's latest book, as he describes not only servant leadership theories, but provides practical applications and examples which connect the dots.  As the president of a Christian university, and having served as the head of a 60,000 person federal agency (TSA), and Deputy Director of the FBI under Robert Mueller, with over 35,000 employees, I understand and appreciate the importance of those who lead with a servant's heart.” 

Dr. John S. Pistole

President, Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana


About the Author:

As Founder and Chief Executive of The Johnson Leadership Group LLC, Kevin provides organizations, and the people who work within them, with the tools to forge effective personnel and interpersonal communication. He delivers training on the elements of dynamic relationships, to equip teams with the attitudes and attributes needed to develop individuals into leaders. He does so through motivating workshops, seminars, insightful keynote speeches and compassionate coaching – all to encourage personal and professional growth. He is a John Maxwell Team certified trainer, coach, mentor and speaker, and an active member of the International Coach Federation. Kevin enjoyed a 34-year career (retired) in government and private industry as a middle-to-senior level leader. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Management / Economics / Finance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Kevin is an ordained minister by the Church of God Ministries, Incorporated, Anderson, IN, and has held multiple leadership positions at the local, regional, national and international levels, including Senior Pastor. His best-selling book series – Give God the Glory! – earned 19 literary awards from 2001 to 2013. He authors a weekly blog (www.kevinwaynejohnson.com/blog) and is the co-host of the monthly radio show (www.blogtalkradio.com/christianauthorsontour). He currently lives in Clarksville, Maryland, with his wife Gail and three sons.  

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.

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Small Biz Bulletin - November 2019

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

Solve the Problem

Are you creating great products and services? You can dramatically increase your chances of success if you start by identifying a problem. Your evaluation of the problem needs to determine several factors. Is the problem prevalent to a sizeable customer group, is the issue growing in intensity, does a sense of urgency exist?, Would it be expensive if you don't address it, and is the issues mandated by polices or regulations. Does it occur with frequency? As you go through the process of innovation, design, and development, examine each of these factors thoroughly. Customer choice has never been greater. The best way to differentiate yourself is by building products and offering services that effectively solve problems. That's the reason customers will choose you.

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary

For Your Business

Rutherford Award 2019

LG Rutherford Receives the Legacy in Leadership Award

Congratulations to Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, recipient of the 2019 Legacy in Leadership Award. The award was presented by Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee during the 38th Annual Leaders & Legends Awards Ceremony hosted by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council. The program celebrates individuals and companies who are committed to minority economic development, and recognized the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises that inspire communities through entrepreneurial accomplishments. 

Legacy in Leadership Award



Small Businesses Incentivized to be Cyber Secure

According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, the average cost for a small business to clean up from a cyber attack is nearly $700,000. Prevention is the best strategy. In 2018, Maryland launched a program to help small businesses protect themselves. The Buy Maryland Cybersecurity Tax Credit encourages small businesses to purchase cybersecurity technologies and services from qualified Maryland companies, and offers a tax credit for 50 percent of the purchases price. Visit the Maryland Department of Commerce to learn more. 

Buy Maryland Cybersecurity Tax Credit

RSG Allegany County 10.2019


Ready, Set, GROW! Visits Allegany County

Congratulations to Greyeyes Supply Company, LLC, Firefly Farm, and Full Circle Solutions, recent recipients of a Governor's Citation for their outstanding contributions to Maryland's small business community. The citations were presented during the Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connections Workshop held at Rocky Gap Casino Resort. Participants met with buyers from seven state agencies and learned tips for navigating the procurement process.

Ready, Set, GROW!

Mark Your Calendar

Most training and business development 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:

11/04/2019 - 5th Annual Business Opportunities & Entrepreneurial Training Summit
11/07/2019 - 2019 Fall Business Growth Expo
11/14/2019 - Construction Prime/Sub Networking Event
11/14/2019 - Veteran Focused Training: GSA's Global Supply Program
11/18/2019 - 17th Annual SMART PROC
11/19/2019 - SWOT Analysis for Contracting Readiness
11/19/2019 - Financial Education Economic Equity Tour
11/20/2019 - Construction Prime/Sub Networking Event
11/26/2019 - Proposal Writing Basics
11/26/2019 - Federal Contracting 101

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

Happy Thanksgiving


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.

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.






Release Date: November 1, 2018             Contact: erin.mccracken@sba.gov, (202) 205-7023

Release Number: 18-66                           Follow us on TwitterFacebookBlogs Instagram


SBA and VA Join Forces to Advance Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Veterans; Launch Upcoming National Veterans Small Business Week


SBA Administrator McMahon and VA Secretary Wilkie sign a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a new entrepreneurship training program for Veterans


WASHINGTON— SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie today announced a new partnership dedicated to supporting Veteran small businesses.


Administrator McMahon and Secretary Wilkie signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies to collaborate and scale a new pilot program that will offer intensive management and leadership training for Veteran entrepreneurs. President Donald J. Trump recently showed his continued commitment to our nation’s small businesses and to Veterans by donating his second-quarter salary to the SBA. These donated funds will help the SBA with develop and launch the pilot program.


“Veteran businesses owners are critically important to our nation’s economy. In fact, one in 10 business owners is a Veteran, collectively employing nearly five million America workers,” SBA Administrator McMahon said. “The VA and the SBA are proud to join forces to shape and scale this new management and executive leadership program specifically designed for Veteran small business owners. Our agencies’ collaboration is so important as we work to ensure this pilot program is tailored to leverage the skillsets of our Veterans and provide them with the resources they need to take their companies to the next level.”


“By signing this MOU between the VA and the SBA, we are committing two federal agencies to advance, improve, and expand opportunities for transitioning Service members and Veterans to own their own businesses,” said Secretary Wilkie.


Additionally, the two leaders used the occasion to launch the upcoming National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 5-9. This year’s theme is “Our Veteran Business Community,” highlighting specific aspects of the Veteran business community, ranging from aspiring to current Veteran and military business owners, including organizations that provide entrepreneurial training.


“We dedicate this week in honor of the many accomplishments of Veteran, service member and military spouse small business owners nationwide. Across the country, SBA district offices and resource partners, as well as local organizations, will be hosting numerous events to spotlight the success of our nation’s 2.5 million Veteran-owned businesses. Entrepreneurship is not a solo mission. I’m proud to be a part of a network that serves the needs of our Veteran and military business owners,” Administrator McMahon concluded.


For more information about National Veterans Small Business Week, including events and ways to get involved, visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz. For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.



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.



As the Washington Post reported, we offered our own take on the State of the Union last night:

“Even before President Trump took to the lectern to deliver his first State of the Union speech, the rebuttal was well underway at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington.”

Our event – The Real State of Our Union – gathered academics and activists for a frank assessment of President Trump’s impact on African-American and immigrant communities. Watch a live recording of the event here.

Leaders of different generations, political parties, and faiths called upon us to build a coalition that stands for unity and justice. They reminded us that no matter the half-truths that the administration tells, we must be steadfast in our resistance.

While Trump rallied for a wall on the Mexican border and took credit for a low Black unemployment rate, our panelists called attention to critical civil rights concerns in 2018: rampant voter suppression, a corrupt criminal justice system, and attacks on immigrant communities.

Our best weapon against Trump’s divisive words and deeds? The vote. In a democracy, our vote is our currency. We must protect it with everything we have and use it at every turn.

Join the thousands who are fighting every day to make democracy work for everyone.




Thank you for standing up for justice and the strength of our union.

In solidarity,

President and CEO


Photo credit: Justin D. Knight

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© 2018 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
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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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