BGE Awards $75,000 to Support Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation’s Inclusive Ventures Program
County Executive Pittman announces grant support as program to support women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses launches fourth cohort
Annapolis, Md (July 26, 2022) – Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced that BGE has awarded a $75,000 grant to the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) to support its Inclusive Ventures Program (IVP), a business education initiative that aims to help small and minority-owned, woman-owned, and Veteran-owned businesses in Anne Arundel County succeed and grow.
“I’m thrilled to announce that BGE is supporting the AAEDC Inclusive Ventures Program in such a major way,” said County Executive Pittman. “I’ve often said that I think IVP is one of the best things that Anne Arundel County has done in government for a long time, and I was proud to fund its expansion in our most recent budget based on its success. Thank you, BGE, for helping fund the future of IVP and, thereby, helping fuel the future growth of businesses and jobs throughout Anne Arundel County.”
“We’re excited to partner with Anne Arundel County on this forward-thinking program that is focused on inclusivity as it supports small businesses,” said BGE President and CEO, Carim Khouzami. “Seeing more than thirty entrepreneurs graduate from the program over the last two years shows that the program has a positive impact, and we’re proud to help make it possible for more business owners to receive the resources that will help them both grow their businesses and also strengthen their communities.”
Introduced by AAEDC in January 2021, IVP seeks to increase the business acumen of its participants and prepare them for their next stage of growth by offering a robust menu of resources including business education and training, access to capital, and mentorship.
“On behalf of our entire team at AAEDC, thank you to BGE for this tremendous show of support for IVP specifically and, thereby, for Anne Arundel County as whole,” added AAEDC Interim CEO Jill Seamon. “We’ve always known that small-, minority, woman-, and Veteran-owned businesses play a pivotal role in grassroots economic development, both by creating jobs and improving communities, and we look forward to watching this investment pay dividends far into the future.”
The program’s signature component is the Virtual Entrepreneurship Cohort and Seed Fund, which includes three-hour classes over the course of eight weeks. The sessions are led by business consultant Will Holmes, Founder of Will Holmes Consulting and a recruiter for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Participants also have consultations with legal, human resources, and accounting experts. The last session is a pitch day/graduation, when each business owner presents his or her business growth plan to and responds to questions from a panel of expert judges, including potential investors.
Upon graduation, each participant receives a $5,000 seed grant, to serve as working capital for their business, as well as continued mentoring for up to a year and access to AAEDC’s financing programs, if qualified. BGE’s $75,000 award will be used to fund the seed grants of a future cohort.
Due to the personalized atmosphere of the program, each cohort is limited to 10-15 participants. Businesses must be located in Anne Arundel County and business owners must complete an application and interview to be considered for admission to the program. Preferred candidates are entrepreneurs whose businesses have been operating for at least two years with employees and revenue.
The application round for the Fall cohort, which will run from September 7 to October 26, will open on Wednesday, July 27 and close at 5pm on Tuesday August 2.
For more information on the program and to access the application link, visit the Inclusive Ventures Program page on the AAEDC website.