Hello from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and welcome to the Maryland Capital Enterprises Women’s Business Center’s new website

Hello from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and welcome to the Maryland Capital Enterprises Women’s Business Center’s new website!

As Maryland’s chief fiscal officer since 2007, I know the importance of successful small businesses.

Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE), a nonprofit, community development financing institution has always been a strong resource for new businesses. MCE offers access to capital and free technical assistance to both new and existing small businesses across the state – specifically, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Baltimore City, and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. Let’s do a bit of alphabet soup. MCE is the only Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) fund in the State of Maryland with all four certifications: the United States Department of Treasury Intermediary Lender, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Intermediary Lender, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Intermediary Lender, and the State of Maryland Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Intermediary Lender.

Their mission is to empower businesses to grow, create jobs and generate wealth on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and across the state. They operate two Women’s Business Centers – one in Salisbury and one soon to open in Baltimore City.

As comptroller, I’m proud to have led the effort to increase small, minority and women-owned businesses and diversify the fund managers in our State Retirement System.

One of my duties as comptroller is serving as vice chair of our state’s pension and retirement system, and when I attended my first pension board meeting as vice chairman I was shocked that the people who managed our pension funds did not reflect the diversity of the people whose funds they were managing.

So, we diversified the people who were managing our state employees’ pension funds.

We created a $1 billion fund called the Terra Maria Fund and brought in new, diverse minority and women managers so that the people in charge of the money reflected the diversity of our state. Studies back up what we have experienced with the pension fund – there is a proven correlation between diversity and corporate performance and increases in profitability.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in promoting diversity and fairness both in our procurement system and in our retirement and pension system.

And I’m glad MCE continues to support diversity in small businesses.

MCE’s Women’s Business Centers operate to assist entrepreneurs to succeed, offering free training, consulting, counseling, one-on-one mentoring, and micro- and small business loans.
The centers provide free technical assistance to women and minority entrepreneurs in the form of webinars/training on a wide variety of business topics such as QuickBooks, Renegotiating Leases, Contracts, and other deliverables in the wake of the pandemic, and more.

They will also provide direct, one-on-one consulting. After the pandemic, they will offer free resource libraries, training space, and networking opportunities for women and minority merchants, or those looking to start a business.

If Maryland is to recover from the devastating effects of a worldwide health pandemic, we will need small business owners to succeed. We will also need a diverse group of minority- and women-owned businesses to lead us not only past the fallout of the pandemic, but to also lay the foundation of a strong state economy for the future.

With efforts from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and MCE leading the way, I’m confident we will succeed.

Peter Franchot is the 33rd Comptroller of Maryland.

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