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Elrich Announces Expansion of Montgomery County Business Connect Program to East County During Economic Development Week

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 21, 2019

business connect logo

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced today the expansion of the Business Connect program to the East County regional area.

Elrich issued a joint proclamation with County Council President Nancy Navarro celebrating MEDA’s Economic Development Week. County Councilmember Will Jawando, Small Business Administration (SBA) District Director Antonio Doss, Michael McCartin of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, local officials, members of the business community, and many of Montgomery County’s Business Connect partners attended the East County launch at the East County Regional Services Center. 

“For the past 10 months, I have been visiting with business leaders and business owners to find out what they need to succeed in Montgomery County,” said Elrich. “The majority of businesses in Montgomery County are small. We have opened these small business hubs in Germantown, Silver Spring and now East County to help small businesses start and grow. We know you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have support, it may not get off the ground. This program is designed to help businesses thrive. When small businesses are successful, Montgomery County is successful. I want Montgomery County to be the best place to do business.”

The Business Connect program consists of classes, counseling and connections to provide support to businesses where they are located. Classes are a key component. The new program offers free and low-cost business workshops and training sessions taught by the County’s partners. The classes feature a variety of topics from marketing a business to financial planning to negotiating a lease. Counseling sessions are available individually, and connections include resources available from Montgomery County government. 

“Montgomery County is home to rich assets for businesses of all sizes to start, expand and thrive,” said Navarro, who chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and serves on the Education and Culture Committee.  “We are proud and fortunate to have diverse community members from all parts of the world make up our highly entrepreneurial and talented workforce and a world-class education system preparing and training the workforce of tomorrow.  It is imperative to provide economic opportunity to all parts of the County because we know that business innovation is what will drive the future success of our County.  I applaud the expansion of the new Business Connect program in East County and look forward to this program reaching all areas of the County. I encourage business owners who want to start a business or expand their business to visit the Montgomery County Business Portal to learn about upcoming Business Connect classes, resources and services that are available for businesses.”

The County’s Business Connect partners in the East County regional area include the African American Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, IMPACT Silver Spring, the Latino Economic Development Corporation, Life Asset, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, the Maryland Women’s Business Center, SCORE and WorkSource Montgomery.

The Business Connect program is offered in locations around the County, including some libraries and regional service centers. Soon, the program will be tested in the Bethesda regional area with classes scheduled for later this month and a formal launch anticipated early next year.

“I am impressed by Montgomery County’s new initiatives making it easier for entrepreneurs to access the small business assistance they need to develop companies that create jobs and strengthen the region’s economy,” said Doss.

The Business Connect program is managed by the Business Solutions Group, which includes the County’s small business navigator and business liaison officers. 

Upcoming East County Business Connect classes include:

For more information about upcoming Business Connect classes, visit the award-winning Montgomery County Business Portal.

Elrich also provided an update on legislation for a Local Business Preference Program that is being reviewed by the County Council. A public hearing on the new legislation was held last week, and the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee is tentatively scheduled to discuss it on Dec. 5.

In addition, Elrich announced that the County’s Benchmarking to be the Best for Business initiative is moving forward with two 4Business charrettes scheduled next month. One charrette will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown, and the other will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Wheaton Community Recreation Center.

The 4Business charrettes follow six 4Business listening sessions hosted by the county executive and Council Vice President Sidney Katz, and a recent survey of more than 200 businesses. For more information about the 4Business initiative, visit the County’s website.

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Release ID: 19-347
Media Contact: Sonya Burke;  240-777-6531