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EDC 'Activates Prosperity' Through Matchmaking At Thirsty Thursday Networking Event

(l. to r.: Charles Wheeler, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Five Star Consulting Group: Nichelle Holmes, Development Manager, PGCEDC; Jim Coleman, President and CEO, PGCEDC; Councilmember Mel Franklin, D-9; Joann Romano, Co-Owner, Romano Vineyard and Winery; Joe Romano, co-Owner, Romano Vineyard and Winery; Marie Purkert, Director of Business Development, Christopher Consultants, LLC; Eric Henderson, Board Member, PGCEDC; Britta Vander Linden, Chief of Staff, PGCEDC)Brandywine, MD, May 20, 2016 - Over 100 entrepreneurs and small business owners traveled to beautiful South County for the May edition of the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation's (EDC) 'Thirsty (for Business) Thursday" (T4BT)networking event.  Last night's event was held at the Romano Vineyard and Winery and featured County Councilmember Mel Franklin and Beltsville Agricultural Center Director Dr. Ellen Harris as special guests.  Councilmember Franklin and Dr. Harris both talked about the importance of agri-business in the region and the importance of small businesses getting involved to preserve it in the rural tier.

"We're here to make you successful," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman.  "Our 'Thirsty Thursday' events bring our small businesses face to face with the movers and shakers in Prince George's County so that they can become multi-millionaires.  Whether they need assistance from our EDI Fund, like the Romano's did to expand their business or are looking to upgrade their business plan, the EDC is a One Stop Shop for connecting businesses to success."

"Thirsty for Business Thursday" is well known for its ability to highlight fine dining and entertainment venues in the County and for its dynamic guest speakers who share priceless nuggets of information that give local companies an edge on the competition in this region. Councilmember Franklin encouraged attendees to partner with the Economic Development Corporation, the County and each other and to consider investing in agri-business, particularly in the rural tier. 

"I remember when the Romano's started this incredible business with nothing more than innovation and faith," said Franklin.  "Through their partnership with the County and the residents who have worked to make this winery a success, they have created a great economic destination in South County. But we need to create other agri-businesses; more bed and breakfasts, more wineries to be truly successful. You are in the right place with the right people to make this happen for you today."

The Romano Vineyard and Winery is a family owned business that is celebrating its fifth year of producing a quality variety of commercial wines.  Thanks to the $145,000 assistance from the County's Economic Development Incentive Fund, this family farm has expanded its production and is transforming Prince George's County with quality boutique wines.

"We appreciate everything the EDC has done with us with the EDI Fund and we have definitely put it to work," said Joann Romano, Co-Owner of Romano Vineyard and Winery.  "We have invested in a tasting room, expanded our initial vineyard and planted another vineyard last year.  We are growing, and we need people to spread the word.  There is a vineyard in Prince George's County and we would love to see them here."

Also along the lines of agri-business, Prince George's County is home to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the USDA's largest scientific installation.  The Beltsville Research Center is one of the 14 federal agencies located in Prince George's County that collectively solicit more than $100 billion in procurements to small businesses annually.

"The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, one of the gems of Prince George's County provides research and education to the American public on healthy crops, plants and natural resources," said Dr. Harris.  "We are continuously looking for small businesses to work with to enhance our knowledge and technologies and we look forward to hearing from local businesses in Prince George's County."

Romano Vineyard and Winery, along with Christopher Consultants, LLC, Five Star Consulting Group, NAI Michael Companies and Berman Enterprises graciously sponsored this evening's event. 

For more information about the County Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDI), contact Ebony Stocks, EDC Fund Manager at epstocks@co.pg.md.us or 301-583-4650.

The next opportunity to network with Jim Coleman and his 'posse' will be on June 16th when "Thirsty for Business Thursday" heads to the Calvert Brewing Company, 15850 Commerce Court, Upper Marlboro, MD. This event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  RSVP to Nicole Edwards at 301-583-4650 or naedwards@co.pg.md.us.