ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball along with Howard County’s Economic Development Authority announced an entrepreneur accelerator program partnership with M&T Bank.

The program is called “HoCo Higher: Accelerator Business Program” which will teach early-stage and under-served entrepreneurs the fundamentals of business planning, operations, credit building, digital communications and finance management.

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“Small businesses are the economic engine that pushes Howard County forward and help our community thrive,” said Ball. “HoCo Higher will help entrepreneurs, especially those who are traditionally underserved, reach new heights and access important resources and support structures. I encourage small business owners to apply for this unique and exciting opportunity to learn best practices and set their business up for success.”

Business mentors, coaches and experts will lead the free 10-week program that is set to begin on Sept. 8. Participants will meet weekly on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia.

Interested participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Two years in business operations
  • Annual gross revenue of $150,000 or more
  • Be a Howard County-based business in good standing

“As we emerge from the pandemic and the economy begins to grow, this is a time for businesses to re-tool and re-imagine,” said Larry Twele, Howard County Economic Development Authority president and CEO. “We are excited to be a partner in this initiative where we can leverage the assets and expertise of the Maryland Innovation Center to further benefit entrepreneurs in our community.”

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Those selected for the program will follow a curriculum created by M&T Bank that will include lessons on legal business formation, obtaining certifications, developing business plans, managing business and personal finances, sourcing capital, pricing strategies, risk management and business insurance, marketing strategies and more.

“M&T Bank is passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow and sustain their businesses, so they can leave a lasting legacy for their families and communities,” said Rosa Scharf, a vice president and relationship manager for the bank’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Banking team in Greater Baltimore. “This curriculum was intentionally developed to create an ecosystem that helps businesses owned by minorities, women and people of color overcome obstacles to success, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Ball and his team to offer it to entrepreneurs in Howard County.”

Interested applicants can visit https://www.research.net/r/hocohigher.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the partnership was with M&T Bank Stadium. The error has been adjusted. 

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CBS Baltimore Staff