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Small business reserve plan to assist county firms

2012-06-21

By K. Nancoo-Russell, Montgomery County Sentinel

The number of small businesses in Montgomery County eligible to participate in the state’s small business reserve program is likely to increase later this year, as law signed into effect by Gov. Martin O’Malley and advocated for by the county’s Chamber of Commerce have changed the requirements for qualification.

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Affairs Jonathan Sachs says the Chamber worked closely with Delegate Kirill Reznik and Senator Karen Montgomery on the bill, which he said should help the state meet its mandate of having 10 percent of its procurement funds go to small businesses, a mandate that was not being met.

 “We found that the state has a 10 percent goal, right now they’re only reaching about six and a half percent,” Sachs said.

“After reviewing the different procurements, it was apparent that small businesses would benefit from this legislative change. As more small businesses that can accommodate additional contract demands become eligible to participate, the more contracts the state can offer up for exclusive small businesses competition.”

Gov. O’Malley recently signed into law the changes required to make more Maryland small businesses eligible for the state set-aside program.

The Chamber had been advocating that requirements to qualify as a small business include either the number of people a business employs or the amount of revenue it makes, and not both.

The State bill adopts similar requirements as the Montgomery County local small business reserve program for participating small businesses.

“We advocated for the State rules to look similar to the County’s and that’s what passed, was a change from an employment and a revenue threshold to just one or the other in order to qualify for the program,” Sachs said.

The law will take effect on October 1, 2012.

Sachs said the goal is to encourage small business job growth, which would eventually lead to small businesses outgrowing the reserve program.

“We want to encourage businesses to grow jobs because that will help the economy improve and indicates that Maryland continues to be a good place to do business,” he said.

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