Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

November 29, 2006

Economic Forecast Breakfast is Dec. 6

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce will hold its first Economic Forecast Breakfast at 8 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Sheraton Columbia Hotel.

A panel of experts will discuss economic indicators and forecasts for 2007. Representatives of the Economic Indicators Group, a joint project of the chamber and county government, will present a local perspective.

Panelists are to include Lee Wilhide of Wilhide's Flowers, Chip Lunch of Williamsburg Group Builders, Suzi Padgett of Coldwell Banker Residential Realtors, and Jim Peacock of PCA Group.

Jeffrey Schappe of BB&T Asset Management Inc. will discuss the national perspective. Results from the chamber's recent economic forecast survey will be presented.

Tickets are $30 for members; $35 for nonmembers.

Information: 410-730-4111, or register online at www.Howard Chamber.com.

Holiday decorating contest being held

The Ellicott City Restoration Foundation Inc. is sponsoring a Holiday Window Decorating Contest for retail businesses in the Ellicott City historic district. An official winner will be chosen by judges; a "people's choice" award will also be chosen.

Retail businesses must submit an official entry form and have their display in place on or before Friday. The official winner will be announced Sunday. Ballots for the "people's choice" award will be available around the town until Dec. 10. They should be returned to Howard County Tourism's Visitor Information Center, 8267 Main St. The winner will be announced Dec. 11.

The winner of the official award will receive a quarter-page advertisement in the July/August issue of Maryland Life Magazine; the people's choice winner will receive a quarter-page ad in the Ellicott City Visitors Guide.

Calendar

Holiday mixer -- The Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce will hold its Holiday "Warm Up" Mixer from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Great Room at Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage. The cost is $40. Proceeds will go to the chamber and the BWCC Foundation to provide scholarships for high school students and educational programs. 301-725-4000, or www. baltwashchamber.org.

Smart start -- The Maryland Small Business Development Center and Howard County Economic Development Authority's Business Resource Center will sponsor a seminar for entrepreneurs, "Smart Start to Business Success." Topics are to include selecting an appropriate legal business entity, financial records, getting startup money, insurance options and Howard County's resources for businesses. The seminar is planned from 8:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 13 at the Center for Business and Technology Development, 9250 Bendix Road North, Columbia. 410-313-6550, or ww.hceda.org/thecenter/events. html.

Scholarship -- The Howard County Economic Development Authority's Committee for Business and Economic Diversity is accepting applications for the $1,000 Earl H. Saunders Entrepreneurial Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes a graduating senior who is a member of a minority group, a woman, and/or disabled and who has demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit by starting a small business, assisting an existing business or developing an invention targeted toward business. Applications must be received by March 9. 410-313-6550, or www.hceda.org/thecenter/cbed.html.

Resources

Drivers needed -- Drivers are needed to provide bus transportation for students in the Howard County schools. The school system provides classroom and practical instruction to help drivers acquire the required license and endorsements. Wages are about $13 an hour. Hours of work range from four to 10 hours a day. The school system's Office of Student Transportation will put interested drivers in touch with contractors. 410-313-6733.

Health care plan -- The Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are offering a limited health care plan to members. The plan, which does not require employer contributions or minimum employee participation, includes access to health care providers in Alliance PPO. Literature about the plan is available in Spanish. Shirley Redd, 301-725-4000.

Energy -- The Columbia-based Restaurant Association of Maryland is holding open enrollment for the Mid-Atlantic Aggregation Group Independent Consortium, an energy group of retailers and others, of which the association is a member. The consortium's goal is to offer power to commercial participants at a fixed rate that is lower than that offered by the local utility. Paula Kreuzburg or Joe Gabriel, 800-874-1313.

Business Digest items may be sent to Howard.events @baltsun.com or faxed to 410-715-2816.

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