Greater Baltimore Black
        Chamber of Commerce
    (Information and membership portal)

Upcoming Meeting Topics:

June 5, 2019 - Open conversation with Darryl Barnes, New Chair of The MD Legislative Black Caucus

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 - May 2019

Special Secretary Jimmy Rhee

Message from Special Secretary Rhee

Catalyst for Change

Are you an innovative small company looking for more business opportunities? If so, you should take the time to understand the programs where the U.S. government acts as a catalyst for change - the spark that lights the fire!

1. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) - The technological developments necessary to win wars have provided lessons to those seeking to improve innovation policy as a whole. Created in 1958 as a direct result of the launching of  1957 launch of Sputnik by the Soviets, DARPA is known for its “blue-sky thinking” – ideas that went beyond the horizon in that they may not produce results for 10 or 20 years. This opened numerous windows for scientists and engineers to propose innovative ideas and receive funding and assistance. 
2. SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Program - SBIR was created to support scientific excellence and technological innovation. It is specifically intended to help small businesses conduct research and development via grants for projects that have the potential for commercialization.  SBIR has provided funding for some of the best early stage innovation ideas which were highly promising, but were too risky for private investors such as Intel and Compaq, when they were start-ups. 
3. Orphan Products Development - The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 was created specifically for the biotech industry, making it possible for small firms to carve a tiny portion of the pharmaceutical market. The act includes certain tax incentives, clinical subsidies, fast-track approvals, and marketing rights for products developed for treating rare conditions. A rare disease is defined as any disease that affects less than 200,000 people, which if left alone, given its small market, any potential drugs would remain ‘orphans’ without financial incentives. Orphan drugs have played an important role for major biopharmaceutical firms such as Genzyme, Biogen, Amgen, and Genentech.

Who has received funding from these programs? The Internet, global positioning systems, touchscreen technology, and the cheeky voice we all know as SIRI just to name a few. I encourage you to make the time to learn more about them and determine if one of these programs could help your small business.


Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary  


ATTENTION eMaryland Marketplace Vendors

Big things are happening as a result of Maryland's statewide procurement modernization efforts. Late this summer, eMaryland Marketplace, the state's online bid board system, will transform into eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA). As the name suggests, the system will offer new features and enhancements to improve the customer experience.

As we prepare for this big change, we're asking all vendors who are currently registered in eMaryland Marketplace to complete a brief supplier information questionnaire. The information provided will serve as your preliminary registration in eMMA. When we're ready to go online later this summer, you'll be provided with a temporary user name and password so you can  log into the new system and complete the user profile. Existing vendors that do not complete the survey prior to the launch date will have to register as a new vendor, so please take the time to complete the questionnaire at your earliest convenience.

eMMA Supplier Information Questionnaire

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DoIT Master Contract Window is Open

Maryland does most of its IT procurements and contracts through a vehicle known as a "master contract." A master contract is the equivalent of an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. Goods and services are purchased by issuing competitive task orders for which only master contractors may bid. Participation by firms that have not been named as a master contractor is limited to subcontracting only. Firms interested in becoming a master contractor must complete a solicitation package for evaluation. Visit the Department of Information Technology to learn more. 

IT Master Contractor Solicitation Package

Governor's Citation recipients 4.2019

Ready, Set, GROW! 

Our recent Ready, Set, GROW! Procurement Connections Workshop was held in Anne Arundel County at the Maryland Department of Transportation's Headquarters in Hanover. We took the opportunity to celebrate three small business owners who are making a big impact on the local community. They each received a Governor's Citation in recognition of their hard work, dedication, and pursuit of excellence as a small business owner. Congratulations to: 

Small Business Events

Mark Your Calendar

Most business development takes 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:

05/08/2019 - Reading and Understanding Basic Financial Statements
05/09/2019 - 2019 Super Matchmakers Conference
05/13/2019 - Business Succession Planning
05/14/2019 - Doing Business with Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
05/17/2019 - Pathway to Growth Procurement Conference
05/21/2019 - Doing Business with Maryland Live! Casino & Hotel
05/21/2019 - WSSC's Technical Assistance Workshop
05/28/2019 - Doing Business with MGM National Harbor
05/28/2019 - Federal Contracting 101
05/28/2019 - Negotiation Strategies & Closing Techniques

Check out our full range of small business events
online at

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 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:

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

For more information about Opportunity Zones, please visit Economic Innovation Group or the U.S. Treasury at






Release Date: November 1, 2018             Contact:, (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 For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit



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. 

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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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