State of Entrepreneurship in Frederick County

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Frederick County Business Development and Retention Reveals Energizing Trends

“In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, the number of people looking to start a new business remains strong,” said Beth Woodring, Senior Consultant for the Western Region SBTDC and Small Business Counselor for Frederick County.

Keeping the Pulse of Entrepreneurial Success

Small businesses are the economic backbone of Frederick County. Today, 98 percent of Frederick County companies employ 100 or fewer workers, advancing a set of businesses as diverse as biotech startups, professional services, and boutiques.

Together, the Frederick County Business Development and Retention Department (BDRD) and the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBDTC) examine business trends and implement strategies to boost growth in and sustainability of business in Frederick County.

Since the beginning of 2010, small businesses have generated 95 percent of all new American jobs. Locally, over the past five years the number of small businesses in Frederick County has decreased from 5,930 businesses employing less than 100 workers in 2007 to 5,611 businesses in 2011, or -5.7 percent. A survey of non-employers (businesses with no paid employees) with sales of $1,000 or more reflects the same trend, showing a five-year decrease of 1.2% in Frederick County. Conversely, large businesses with 500 or more employees account for 5 percent of the total of new jobs created. These statistics reflect that small businesses are significant job creators in Frederick County.

Capturing Enthusiasm for Entrepreneurship

“In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, the number of people looking to start a new business remains strong,” said Beth Woodring, Senior Consultant for the Western Region SBTDC and Small Business Counselor for Frederick County. Indeed, rankings demonstrate this trend: In 2013, the Frederick County Small Business Development and Technology Center ranked the third highest among SBTDCs across Maryland with the most business start-ups. The Frederick County Office placed in the top 10 statewide in 7 of 8 measured small-business economic impact areas.

Small Tweaks, Tremendous Results

The Frederick County Small Business Development and Technology Center (SBDTC) has identified three hurdles relevant to local entrepreneurial growth:

  •     Taking advantage of viable free help
  •     Remaining relevant to your target market
  •     Marketing to multi-generational channels

To overcome these obstacles, the SBTDC has implemented a series of seminars and workshops on utilizing social media as well as broader marketing programs. The office offers federal contracting support to help business owners determine eligibility and navigate the complicated application process, as well as the HUBZone program designed to gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities for small businesses in urban and rural communities. Confidential, one-on-one counseling is available to all Frederick County businesses. This service helps identify underlying issues hindering growth and profitability, allowing the SBTDC to recommend actionable items and strategies to positively impact overall business productivity.

In addition to these workshops, Frederick County Business Development and Retention has partnered with SBDTC to promote the use of an online newswire among Frederick County businesses which makes press releases and articles more visible and readily available online. This service is now available to use by all Frederick County businesses, at no cost to them. Through this program, Frederick County businesses are encouraged to simply send their news, increasing the visibility of new related to Frederick County businesses online.

Financing Dreams

Over the last Federal fiscal year, the Small Business Association Administration (SBA) issued 28 SBA 7a and 504 loans to Frederick County businesses. Sixty-one percent of those loans were given to existing businesses. Among all counties in Maryland, Frederick County had the fifth highest number of SBA loans issued. Locally, M&T Bank issued the most loans, valued at $1.2M .

“We are seeing an increase in activity among small businesses in Frederick County, as the economic recovery continues and business owners feel more confident about the future. They are beginning to invest capital in their operations, inventory and employee base. We have a team based in Frederick with several years of banking experience and various backgrounds here to meet those needs of our community,“ said Alan Mullendore, Asst. Vice President, M&T Bank.

Growing Diversity Among Small Businesses

Frederick County has several local organizations to assist business owners, including the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, and the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County. In recent years, organizations like the Golden Mile Alliance, the Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Frederick County African American Chamber of Commerce have partnered to target specific business needs and create a spirit of diversity and entrepreneurship that is alive and well in Frederick County.

Beth Woodring, Senior Consultant for the Western Region SBTDC said, “Programs like the Women Owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business are underutilized in Frederick County.” To promote the many programs available, the office regularly works with grassroots organizations, local municipal businesses and professional groups and the Frederick County Commission for Women.

In 2012 and 2013, Frederick County saw a significant an increase in small business opportunities, with shared workspaces like Regus, CoWork Frederick, Ridgecrest Investments and the Business Factory of Frederick joining other virtual and shared work options, such as the Frederick County Innovative Technology, Center, Inc; A Corner Office, LLC; and Monarch Executive Suites. These contemporary, nontraditional workplaces provide small businesses with affordable options to start and grow their businesses in Frederick County.

The Frederick County Business Development and Retention Department creates partnerships and opportunities in support of lasting business growth. Capitalizing on a skilled workforce and strategic location, the Department nurtures a diverse, business-friendly environment and home to over 9,000 businesses. Visit to find out why Frederick County, Maryland is an ideal place to live, work, and locate your business.

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