By Mike Schuh

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (WJZ) — Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and many others started their businesses in their basements or garages.

Now–as Mike Schuh reports–Harford County is trying to lure such entrepreneurs into opening shop near Havre de Grace.

Sharif Salama had a good idea.

“Such a simple name,” he said.

“Under 21” is his website that directs kids to cool events. It premiers at Senior Week in Ocean City.

“So what you can do is you’ll be able to, according to your GPS location, you can find the closest thing going on to you,” he said.

But Sharif is not a programmer.

“I don’t understand the coding side of it, I’m the visionary,” he said.

That vision led him here. This is “Groundfloor,” a place for people like Sharif to get help getting started.

“We’re right now in the Groundfloor, which is a co-working incubator which is strategically located between the city of Aberdeen and the city of Havre de Grace,” said Jim Richardson, economic development director.

A low cost space for start-ups to start up.

“The county actually built this out, I used county funds to build out this space,” Richardson said.

The entrepreneurs pay $100 a month for meeting space, WiFi and on site tech experts.

“To develop their concepts and begin to build a platform to build their company,” said Richardson.

A low cost, low risk way for the county to plant the seeds to a payoff.

“Two to four companies a year that we can spin out of here. That alone with pay in terms of job creation and tax revenues for the cost of operating this facility,” he said.

A storefront helping to develop ideas otherwise too expensive for the little guy to do.

“Essentially I’ve probably saved about $20 to $25,000,” said Salama.

Money which will allow him to grow business in Harford County, should his business succeed.

They are limiting membership to 25. So far, they have a half a dozen who use that incubator.


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