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Small Business Grants In Maryland

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

You might be eligible for a Maryland small business grant in 2023 if your business suffered substantial revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Government grants are available to small businesses affected by the pandemic. 

Small businesses, families, and local communities benefit from these grants, ensuring that everyone has a chance to be part of the development of these communities. The following resources were compiled as part of our support for small businesses, Maryland communities, and Maryland families.

You can browse through these resources for informational purposes at first, and then pick the programs that best align with your business type and funding needs. Approximately $11.81 billion in grants and $9.41 billion in local government funding mean the majority of Maryland's federal budget in government grants goes to the business sector every year, as small businesses and large corporations are the foundation for economic growth.

Maryland is home to 109,087 businesses. Small business grants may also be available to farmers. Maryland has more than 13,000 farms.

What Is A Grant?

Grants are generally understood as awards from public authorities or agencies to support the development of a new product, automated service, or project; unlike a secured loan that the government guarantees, a grant does not have to be repaid. Grants are advantageous for small businesses since there is no repayment requirement.

Although grants can be lengthy and time-consuming to apply for and administer, they are an important means of growing your business. Competitive grant programs can require lengthy applications. Applying for a grant opportunity for your small business will require you to show that you have the resources necessary to build a successful company and meet the lending body's requirements. Many grant programs are run by the local government, charities, and private foundations.

Maryland Small Business Expenses

Managing small businesses in Maryland is not easy, but it is not challenging either. In Maryland, over $96.62 billion is paid in salaries and wages annually, and 29105 businesses declare bankruptcy. The government awards no formal grants for starting or expanding businesses in the United States. Still, small business grants are awarded to business owners for starting and expanding their companies in Maryland. Grant recipients are not required to repay government grants. If you want to fund your small business, looking into grants for small businesses makes sense.

State Grants

Residents of Maryland may apply for grants for various purposes in the state. We have listed a few Maryland small business grants that may be applicable for your needs in 2023.

Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​By promoting the viability and expansion of businesses owned and operated by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs, MSBDFA intends to help those businesses succeed.

Working capital, supplies, materials, the purchase of machinery and equipment, land acquisition, and real estate improvements are some of the uses of MSBDFA.

Other uses of these funds include acquiring an existing franchise, construction or renovation of a building, acquiring franchise fees, or obtaining bid, performance, or payment bonds for contracts that receive the majority of their funding from the federal, state, or local governments.

The US Treasury released an approval to Maryland to administer up to $198 million in federal assistance, including subsequent funds based on performance, through Maryland's State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). As part of the funding package, various existing business lending programs will be used, including MSBDFA, which is expected to receive $45 million.

Visit the SSBCI program website for more information on all programs receiving SSBCI funds, and you can also complete an interest form to be notified when funding is available.

Military Personnel and Veteran-owned Small Business Loan Program (MPVOLP)

​​​​MPVOLP offers no-interest loans of up to $50,000, from one to eight years, for businesses owned or having direct control by military reservists, veterans, or members of the National Guard and for small businesses owned or operated by employees of such individuals.

Veteran-owned businesses with fewer than 50 employees may also apply for the grant. Veteran-owned small businesses, businesses owned by military reservists and National Guard members called to active duty, and small businesses owned by their employees are all eligible.

Whenever members of the Reserves or National Guard are called to active duty, the funds from the Program are to be used to cover immediate, identifiable costs of the business, including non-business-related expenses incurred as a result of the call to active duty. It is possible to make the loan at any time, starting from the date of the individual's call to active duty and ending six months after the end of the active-duty period.

This program caters to the needs of service-disabled veterans, businesses owned by disabled veterans, and businesses that employ disabled veterans. The program's purpose is to alleviate the financial burden of making the home, motor vehicle, and place of employment of a service-disabled veteran accessible to individuals with disabilities and to lower other necessary expenses.

Shore Hatchery

The Perdue School of Business Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery is a bi-annual business plan competition held in the mid-Atlantic region. Startup businesses from the Mid-Atlantic can apply to the Shore Hatchery. It is a $2 million initiative that began in 2013 and will continue for ten years. Assisting entrepreneurs will help expand businesses and create jobs for the community. 

Startup companies can apply for up to $200,000 a year. Shore Hatchery's mission is to reward the individual's entrepreneurial efforts through a financial award for establishing and growing businesses that can positively impact regional employment within three years. Those in the fishing industry must report back to the Shore Hatchery board on the progress they have made every year.

On Monday, August 15, 2022, applications will be open for registration, and applicants will have until Monday, September 26, 2022, to submit their applications. The competition will take place on Friday, October 28, 2022.

Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund

​An estimated $45 million will be allocated to increase the supply of emergency grants to Maryland's small businesses under COVID-19. More than 4,000 applicants have been funded to date, with awards of up to $10,000 to businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The additional funding will be used to assist pending applicants.

Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority

An allocation of $5 million will go to the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority to provide adequate business financing options to businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals. The MSBDFA can be used for working capital, supplies and materials, machinery and equipment purchases, land acquisitions, and property improvements.

Small Business Assistance Package for Baltimore, Maryland

Here are the programs and grants the Small Business Administration provided to assist small businesses in Baltimore, Maryland.

SBA Microloans

SBA Microloans will provide $1.25 million to Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE), with up to $800,000 targeted to Baltimore, assuming MCE raises the 15% matching funds required by the program. Loans up to $50,000 are available through the Microloan Program to support small businesses and certified not-for-profit childcare centers. In general, microloans play a vital role in underserved communities where conventional lending remains difficult to obtain.  

SBA Disaster Assistance

The purpose of this program is to provide disaster assistance to residents of the City of Baltimore and encompassing areas such as Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County that have been affected by the unrest between April 25 and May 3, 2015. There are low-interest disaster assistance loans you may be eligible for if you suffered an economic or physical loss, regardless of whether you rent or own your home, own a business, or operate a small agricultural cooperative. 

Program For Investment In Micro-Entrepreneurs

As part of the Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) program, Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE) is eligible to receive a discretionary grant of up to $100,000 to assist disadvantaged entrepreneurs affected by the events occurring in Baltimore with training and technical assistance.

Training And Technical Assistance For Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs

Another discretionary PRIME grant of $100,000 has been awarded to the Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation, a non-profit subsidiary of Harbor Bankshares Corporation. Through the PRIME grant award, disadvantaged entrepreneurs will receive training and technical assistance, enabling the bank holding company to do more SBA lending in the affected area.

BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Program

Starting January 20, businesses located in the BGE service area are eligible to apply for grants of up to $20,000, depending on the nature of the project. As part of a $15 million commitment to assist small businesses, BGE, an Exelon Company, launched its Energizing Small Business Grants Program.

There will be three opportunities to apply for grants of up to $20,000 for businesses within BGE's service area. The applicant must be a for-profit company and an existing BGE electric and gas customer with good credit history with BGE.

The Energizing Small Business Grants Program will prefer businesses owned by women and minority-owned businesses over companies owned by men. See the full criteria here and apply today.

Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative

The Governor recently approved additional funding to help restaurants, small businesses, local entertainment venues, arts organizations, and Main Streets throughout the state.

Specifically, the state's commitment to its emergency economic assistance program under COVID-19 will be doubled to $500 million due to this initiative. It is planned to allocate the additional $250 million as follows:

Latino Economic Development Center

In addition to serving Maryland outside of Washington DC, the Latino Economic Development Center also serves the city of Washington DC itself. Their main aim is to assist Latino/Latina-owned businesses. The company provides loans and other business services to small businesses since it is a CDFI.

It may offer loans of $500 to $25,000 to small businesses. There is also a section dedicated to free business advice on various topics, including website and social media development, how to build credit, how to develop or create a business plan, and how to form an LLC.

Maryland Women Business Center

The Maryland Women Business Center is a non-profit organization that helps existing businesses owned by women and new ones. It offers a wide variety of free workshops, training programs, business plan development information, loan and grant referrals, free workshops, training programs, and information on developing a business plan.

A woman business owner of any racial or ethnic group can receive assistance from the Maryland Center, whether they are Black, Latina, immigrant, or of any other race. 

Backing Black Business Grant Program

The Backing Black Business provides free grants of up to $50,000 to hundreds of Black women-owned businesses in Baltimore. Reimagine Main Street and The Women Entrepreneur Leadership Lab (WELL) is partnering with Facebook/Meta to provide financial assistance to female entrepreneurs through this program.

Grants will be given to female-owned small businesses with a minimum revenue of $10,000. 

Baltimore Business Lending

Businesses in Baltimore City can apply for grants through Baltimore Business Lending. Up to 30 small businesses will be eligible for free grants. Grants will amount to up to $10,000 per qualified applicant.

This loan is for a small or midsize business with annual revenue of under $750,000. Besides this program, there is a microloan program for start-ups, mentoring services for black and Latino businesses, and free business support. The program is designed to assist users in starting and expanding an existing business.

Baltimore Development Corporation

Small businesses in Baltimore can apply for grants from the Baltimore Development Corporation. Each qualified company will be able to receive grants of up to $15,000.

All businesses, including those owned by women, minorities, veterans, the disabled, and companies owned by whites, can apply. COVID-19 relief is the focus, with free grants eligible to cover rent, utility bills, operating costs, and other expenses. 

Economic Development Incentive Fund

As part of the $50 million funds provided by the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation, the County will expand its commercial tax base and promote major development and redevelopment opportunities, transit-oriented development, job retention, attraction, and the growth of key sectors.

Land acquisition, construction and improvements, equipment acquisition, and working capital are some eligible uses of the proceeds. Detailed information regarding the program is available here.

Small Business Growth Fund

This program targets Prince George's County businesses with 25 or fewer employees. Most funds from this source are directed towards expanding existing businesses, but funding for start-up businesses is considered case-by-case. Renovation and leasehold improvements can use the funds received through this source.

Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority And Fund (MEDAAF)

The MEDAAF offers small businesses in Maryland the following opportunities and programs.

Significant Strategic Economic Development Opportunities

This program provides funds to projects within priority funding areas and eligible sectors of the economy. Please note that the loans offered can not exceed $10 million or 20% of the current fund balance, whichever is less.

Economic Development Opportunities Fund (Sunny Day Fund) 

The Maryland Economic Development Fund encourages Maryland to become a significant participant in exceptional economic development opportunities that create and retain significant jobs in the state.

Projects must also fall under funding priority areas and be located within industries that qualify for funding. Additionally, this program is a source of funding to make capital investments in the areas designated as Priority Funding Areas.

A creditworthy applicant will have a strong balance sheet and demonstrate a strong credit rating. Applicants should be innovative and consistent with the state's economic development strategic plan.

This project must create significant employment, particularly in areas of high unemployment, as part of its objectives. Applicants must invest at least five times as much as the Sunny Day grant.

Maryland Department Of Housing And Comunity Development (DHCD)

Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development offers the following small business opportunities and programs.

Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC)

This program offers income tax credits for businesses that create new jobs in Maryland to encourage expansion or relocation.   Business expansion or relocation in a "Priority Funding Area" district and the creation of no less than 25 new jobs are required to be eligible for these tax credits.

There is generally a tax credit worth 2.5% of the annual wages of newly created, full-time jobs, up to a maximum of $1000 per new job in most cases. If a new full-time job is created in a neighborhood designated by the DHCD, the credit is increased to 5% of the wages earned in the new job (with a limit of $1,500 per new job).

A business entity that qualifies for credits may not earn a total credit of more than $1 million per credit year. After the credit year, unused tax credits can be carried forward for up to five years if the credit exceeds the tax liability. If the business loses jobs, the credit may be recaptured.

Capital Access Program

Small businesses can access private financing through Capital Access' credit enhancement program. It is a non-profit program funded by private lenders who have established a loss reserve fund from fees that borrowers, lenders, and the Maryland Housing and Community Development Department (DHCD) pay to the program.

Generally, the loan fees' proceeds are used as collateral to insure loans made to small businesses. Loan amounts are typically $10,000 to $1,000,000.

Neighborhood Business Works

Small businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for flexible gap financing through the Neighborhood Business Works Program, which offers low-interest loans at below-market rates. A project's total cost can be financed with funding ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.

Rockville MOVE Program

The City of Rockville offers this program to businesses relocating or opening new offices. A single-time grant (maximum grant award of $40,000) is available to businesses, excluding retail and restaurant businesses that are relocating or expanding outside the corporate city limits of Rockville or startup companies that are moving into their first commercial space and purchasing or leasing that space for a minimum of three years.

There must be a property that can be classified as either Class A or B office, industrial, or flex space. If a business is eligible for the grant, it may receive up to $4.00 per square foot, which can also be combined with an additional $8.00 per square foot grant from Montgomery County's MOVE program. You can review and fill out the online application here.

Business Expansion Fund

The City of Rockville offers this program to existing businesses to help them grow. This grant aims to provide one-time funding to existing Rockville businesses, excluding those in the retail or restaurant industries, to lease or buy a minimum of 1,000 square feet of additional space. The maximum grant award is $10,000.

Property must be classified as Class A or B office space, industrial space, or flexible space based on its use. A grant of up to $5.00 per square foot may be available to businesses eligible for this program. You can review and fill out the online application here.

Montgomery County MOVE Program

Montgomery County provides this program to new and relocated businesses. Business owners new to the county and lease 20,000 square feet or less of Class A or B office space for three years can apply for a one-time grant. Retail, restaurants, and independent financial or insurance agents cannot apply for the grant. 

Businesses eligible for the grant can receive a grant of $8.00 per square foot for commercial classes A and B. Applicants must submit their applications within 90 days of the lease signing date.

Montgomery County Economic Development Grant & Loan Program

The Montgomery County Economic Development Grant & Loan Program is available to new and existing businesses. Employers who retain or stimulate jobs are offered financial assistance, with a priority given to high-tech and manufacturing companies, businesses located in urban revitalization areas, or private employers who provide the most public benefits.

Typically, the amount of assistance will range from $5,000 to $100,000, although high amounts may be available for businesses undertaking large projects.

Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program

Maryland has created this program for new and existing businesses to receive financial support and assistance. This program enables small and non-profit organizations to obtain flexible gap financing for their new or expanding operations. In some cases, the program can provide financing for up to 50 percent of a project's cost ranging from $25,000 to $500,000.

Funds may be used for the following projects and purposes:

  • Residential and commercial mixed-use projects
  • New construction or renovation
  • Equipment and machinery
  • A small business owner faces certain other expenses as part of the process of opening or expanding a business

Partnership for Workforce Quality

New and existing businesses can apply for this program through Maryland. The training grant funds are being allocated to the manufacturing and technology sectors which are looking to increase workers' skills for new technologies and production processes, increase productivity, and increase employment stability.

There are several purposes for which the funds may be used:

  • With coverage of 50% of the costs of qualified projects, the assistance program reimburses up to 10% of the total project cost. The maximum grant is $200,000.
  • At least 60% of the funds must be allocated to small businesses with fewer than 150 employees.
  • There must be a minimum of 20% of the funds going to businesses with more than 500 employees.

Maryland Business Works

New or existing businesses can take advantage of this program from the State of Maryland. Grant funds are used by businesses with fewer than 250 employees to upgrade the skill sets of current employees, primarily those offering in-demand products or services or facing potential layoffs.

Each employer is limited to $40,000 in assistance per year per employee, with the maximum amount per employee being $4,500. Some items and activities in connection with this program that are considered to be allowable training expenses include:

  • A classroom-based training program that is designed to cater to the specific needs of an organization
  • Providing in-house training to employees
  • Apprenticeships
  • Consultancy services 
  • Training materials and books
  • Assessment of proficiency
  • Acquisition of the English content and language

ExportMD Program

Business owners or new businesses can take advantage of this state-sponsored program. It helps small, and mid-sized companies offset the costs associated with marketing internationally.

It is designed to provide up to $6,000 in reimbursement for expenses associated with a marketing project overseas. These expenses include trade show registration fees, airfare, third-party service, brochures translation services, and website development.

Clients may also receive assistance, if needed, from the Maryland Department of Commerce's trade experts. Businesses that apply for this program must meet the following requirements:

  • Being a Maryland-based company and having good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
  • The organization has existed for at least one year
  • The company has not been awarded an ExportMD Award in the last two years
  • The business qualifies as a "small business" as defined by the SBA
  • A business initiative involving international trade should be planned to a start and end within six months after the deadline for applications

Non-Profit, Interest-Free, Micro-Bridge Loan

A non-profit organization in Maryland is eligible to participate in this program, which is offered by the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland non-profit Development Center. The program provides short-term financial support to qualifying non-profits between when a government contract is awarded and when the funds are received.

Organizations with non-profit missions can apply for a loan of up to $25,000 to support their operations (only operating expenses). This loan program is available to Maryland-based organizations that are IRS-designated, tax-exempt entities under Section 501(c), (4), or (6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Maryland Grant Watch

Visit the Maryland Grant Watch website to learn more about grants and non-profits in Maryland. There are more than 28,420 grants (some of which will be available in the next few days) and funding opportunities listed in this Maryland Grant Directory, which come from federal, state, and local funding opportunities across the nation.

It is only possible to access this information if you have a paid subscription, which also requires payment. This subscription is priced at $18 per week for the monthly payment plan and $199 for the annual payment plan. The free membership allows limited access to all features. Grants are not listed in full detail for free members, nor can they be applied for.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What types of small business grants are available in Maryland?

Small business grants in Maryland include state-funded programs, local economic development initiatives, and grants from private organizations or foundations. These grants cater to various grants industries and business types and may target specific demographics, such as women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses.

How can I find small business grants in Maryland?

To find small business grants in Maryland, visit websites for state and local government agencies, such as the Maryland Department of Commerce or your local chamber of commerce. You can also search for grant opportunities from private organizations, foundations, or business associations by conducting online research or networking with other small business owners in your industry.

What is the application process for Maryland small business grants?

The application process for Maryland small business grants varies depending on the specific grant program. Generally, the process involves completing an application form, providing information about your business, outlining your proposed project or plan, and demonstrating how the grant funds will be used. Some grant programs may require additional documentation, such as financial statements, business plans, or letters of recommendation. Carefully review the grant requirements and follow the application guidelines provided by the grantor.

Maryland offers a range of grant opportunities, but it's worth exploring what other states bring to the table. Dive into our guide showcasing grants for Houston small businesses. Expand your grant-seeking radar and optimize your chances!

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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