BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced a plan to spend up to $198 million in federal funding to support Maryland’s small businesses.

The funding will be distributed to three state agencies—the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Maryland Department of Commerce and Maryland Technology Development Corporation—which will in turn invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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In a statement, the governor touted Maryland’s efforts to provide economic relief, keep business flowing and protect people’s jobs throughout the pandemic.

“(Maryland has) one of the most aggressive plans in the country to get these resources out the door utilizing our very successful lending and investment programs to help our small businesses, particularly those in underserved communities primed for revitalization,” Hogan said in part.

The funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative will be used to enhance lending programs run by the state agencies, with a focus on businesses located in overlooked and disadvantaged communities, the governor’s office said.

As much as $103 million will go toward the DHCD, which will distribute the funds through its Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, which provides loans and financing to new and growing businesses in opportunity zones and other areas.

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“This additional federal funding will enable this already successful program to significantly expand its reach and impact in both urban and rural Maryland” DHCD Secretary Kenneth Holt said.

The Maryland Department of Commerce will receive up to $45 million for its Small Business Development Financing Authority program, which provides financing to small businesses that are unable to get “adequate business financing on reasonable terms.”

“These funds will provide a much-needed lifeline for many small businesses and help our state continue its economic recovery,” Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill said.

As much as $50 million will be given to TEDCO for its Venture Equity Funding, Venture Capital Limited Partnership Equity and Seeds Funds Equity programs, which provide venture capital to startups, along with the Social Impact Fund, which invests in disadvantaged entpreneurs.

“We want to express our thanks to our friends at DHCD for their leadership on getting us to this point,” TEDCO CEO Troy LeMaile-Stovall said. “And this point is about investing in individuals and communities that are underrepresented in our innovation ecosystem, while also creating additional funds for TEDCO to invest in firms that will start and scale in Maryland – generating a more equitable future.”

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To apply for a share of those funds, visit the state’s website.

CBS Baltimore Staff