Largo, MD, September 20, 2016 - Members of the press and the business community gathered at the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on Monday, September 19 to join top officials from County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III's office kicked off Economic Development Week with two new initiatives geared towards bolstering the success of local small and minority-owned businesses. Celebrating the great economic development successes the County has experienced during the Baker Administration, County officials stated that this success was not by accident. Joining the celebration was Council Chair Derrick L. Davis, EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman, Prince George's County Financial Services Corporation President and CEO Shelly Gross-Wade, and Maryland Department of Commerce Financing Program Manager Darla Garrett.
"The announcements that were made during the kick-off of Maryland Economic Development Week by FSC First show our continued commitment to expanding our commercial tax base and helping local, small and minority businesses grow," said County Executive Baker. "With our housing values up over 65% since 2011, over $7 billion of investment into our economy and thousands of new jobs created, it is safe to say that our economic strategies are paying off. What better time to celebrate our success than Economic Development Week."
FSC First President and CEO Shelly Gross-Wade announced exciting financing initiatives specifically available to local, small, minority and veteran owned entrepreneurs. The first initiative establishes a Contractor Advantage Program (CAP), capitalized with EDI Funds to support local contractors who are seeking access to a line of credit funded by a financial institution. CAP will operate as a loan guarantee program and will back up to 25% of the line of credit from the financial institution up to $250,000. The goal of this program is to reduce the barrier that exists between local contractors and their lending institutions to encourage the banks to establish lines of credit to finance contract mobilization.
The second initiative is the official launching of the $2 million Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Small Business FLEX Fund. What makes this Maryland program so unique is that it is funded with 1.5% of revenues generated at its gaming facilities. FSC First was selected to serve as one of Maryland's two minority VLT fund managers with an innovative approach to reducing the underwriting and loan approval turnaround time from six weeks to two weeks, with flexible repayment options.
"We have listened to our local entrepreneurs and are happy to announce new initiatives which are a direct response to their on-going feedback about the need for nimble financing options, quicker turnaround times, and more affordable and flexible repayment terms," said Gross-Wade. "We are honored that the State of Maryland and County Executive Baker have chosen us to be the stewards of funds that infuse capital into local county-based businesses to create a level playing field for their success."
Today was also a celebration of Economic Development Week in Maryland, in which all 23 counties and Baltimore City, in partnership with the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), plan activities that highlight the efforts of the economic development professionals who work to enhance private sector investment by bringing jobs and commercial development to the County and the State of Maryland. Through the funds that FSC manages, this partnership is in line with the 'Activate Prosperity' initiative led by EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman.
"This type of partnership is the reason that the median household income in Prince George's County has risen $5,000 in the past year," said Coleman. "Financial instruments like the VLT Small Business FLEX Fund and the EDI Fund are the reason that more companies are growing, more jobs have been created and the County's tax base has increased. The iron is hot and we are excited to partner with Prince George's County and FSC First to not only celebrate our successes, but to also 'Activate Prosperity' for generations to come."
County Council Chair Derrick L. Davis expressed his excitement about the County's economic development statistic moving in the right direction.
"It is obvious to the world that Prince George's County is ready to do business and to show businesses that there are real local opportunities right here in the County," said Davis. "Everything is moving in the right direction now. With crime statistics moving down and education statistics moving up, economic development takes care of itself. We appreciate our partners at the EDC and their president Jim Coleman helping us to spread the word about the small businesses and the programs that make Prince George's County great."
Darla Garrett with the Maryland Department of Commerce talked about how fantastic the small business programs are in Prince George's County and congratulated FSC First on their excellent Fund Manager proposal. The Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Business Account - Video Lottery Terminal Fund (VLT) is funded with 1.5% of slots revenue and has successfully used local fund managers, who know their communities, to deploy the funds.
"The VLT program is a game changer for the small business community. Since the inception of the program, $52.2 million have been awarded to local fund managers and has leveraged $39.5 million in private sector dollars and created or retained 2,076 jobs," said Garrett. "With FSC on board, and the strong commitment of Prince George's County, I expect VLT will continue to be a success."
Economic Development Week will continue when the EDC will host its signature networking event, 'Thirsty (for Business) Thursday' at the Marlton Golf Club, 9413 Midland Turn, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772. Local business owners, along with local elected officials, non-profits, and government and community leaders regularly attend this exciting networking event to connect with potential clients, hear key strategies for moving their businesses to the next level, and to collaborate with business leaders and key government officials.
To reserve your space for the hottest networking event in Maryland, visit www.pgcedc.com/events or contact Nicole Edwards at 301-583-4650.