Thriving Small Businesses & Great Jobs
As Comptroller, Brooke will focus on ensuring that businesses can start here and stay here. Maryland should be a state where entrepreneurs create, grow, and keep businesses. Entrepreneurs and their businesses are critical to generating economic growth and to growing jobs in our state. Compared to many other states, Maryland lacks the investments and tools to support and grow companies at home and too much Maryland talent is drained out of the state.
“Start in Maryland, Stay in Maryland”
Maryland needs bold, clear, and quantifiable goals around small business and start up development that our state can strive to achieve. As Comptroller, Brooke will propose an ambitious goal to grow new Maryland companies with 10 or more employees. She will work with organizations developing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Maryland like TEDCO, universities, incubators, accelerators, state officials and more to build long-term, actionable plans for business support and development. Brooke will work with the Department of Commerce and other state agencies to ensure that Maryland’s resources, assets, and intellectual capital are marketed in ways that compel investment and retention, especially to meet early stage company needs. With the unique assets Maryland possesses, we can and should be a center for civic and social innovations.
Incentives & Capital for Early Stage Start-ups
Early stage start-ups need access to capital, incentives, and support to build in Maryland and stay in Maryland. As Comptroller, Brooke will support tax credits to incentivize companies to grow and stay in Maryland. There are a variety of very early stage seed capital investors and grants and significant downstream investors, but very little in the middle. As Comptroller, Brooke would propose offering tax incentives to new and expanding businesses that meet certain conditions and partner with local institutions.
Providing Resources to Small Businesses
Maryland can work more cohesively in developing inter- and intra-governmental resources to support the infrastructure for job creation and corporate development. Brooke will ensure that the lines of communication between business and government are open and will prioritize educating the business community about existing state and local programs. As Comptroller, Brooke will provide incentives to coordinate resources for business across government agencies.
Maryland Small Business Portal
The Comptroller’s Office will push for the creation of a Small Business Portal that will provide small businesses with a single site for tracking their good standing with the State of Maryland, as well as a history of paid and outstanding taxes, debt, fines, and other related information.
Streamlining Minority & Small Business Certification
While Maryland’s process for certifying minority and women-owned business enterprises is the oldest in the country and is generally highly regarded, the process remains intimidating for many new business owners already experiencing barriers to successful entrepreneurship. It should not be overwhelming, cumbersome, or unduly time-consuming to request and receive the state’s confirmation that your business qualifies for its applicable certification. At the same time, no one benefits if the State’s certification process lacks sufficient rigor and unduly licenses undeserving businesses. Certification procedures are embedded within the Maryland Department of Transportation while oversight is implemented by the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs and the state’s Chief Procurement Officer working for the Department of General Services. Maryland’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise certification process appears fractured. Brooke promises to prioritize focus on ensuring open and equitable access for all potential qualifying businesses to benefit from the state’s programs.
- Brooke has consistently supported small businesses in her district, including the three Main Street districts she represents. When COVID hit, she worked quickly with and supported creation of outdoor dining for restaurants in her neighborhoods. She represents and keeps in close touch with business incubators in her district, including the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) in Baltimore. She sits on the board of the Downtown Partnership, where she works with and supports initiatives to revitalize downtown Baltimore. She was awarded one of the Legislators of the Year by the Maryland Retailers Association in 2020. And, she has championed legislation to implement an Angel Investor Tax Credit to help encourage more early stage capital availability for entrepreneurs in Maryland. Finally, she keeps in close touch with CDFIs in her district and has sponsored legislation to expand the reach of the Small Business Development Centers of Maryland.