Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 11, 2007

Seminar scheduled for entrepreneurs

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," from 8:30 a.m. to noon May 16 at the Center for Business & Technology Development, 9250 Bendix Road North, Columbia.

Among topics to be covered are selection of the appropriate legal business entity, financial records, startup money, insurance options and Howard County's business resources.

The cost is $39. Registration is required.

Information: 410-313-6550, or www.hceda.org/thecenter/ events.html.

Business financier's fundraiser is May 16

j-ref, a small-business financier in Howard County, will hold its fourth fundraiser celebrating entrepreneurship, "Woodstock 2007," from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 16 at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock.

Michael A. Mobley, j-ref's executive director, and the organization's board of directors will be hosts. The cost is $45.

j-ref is a private, not-for-profit funding source for startup and emerging companies in Howard County. In the Center for Business & Technology Development in Columbia, j-ref offers business loans up to $250,000 and in cooperation with its strategic partners, provides business advice, planning and education.

Information: 410-313-6170, or www.jref.org.

Businesswomen's luncheon is April 18

The Business Women's Network of Howard County Inc. will hold its monthly luncheon meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 18 at the Hilton Columbia Hotel.

Sun writer Susan Reimer will speak.

The cost is $30 until Friday; $40 after that date. Seating is limited.

Information or registration: 410-730-0126.

Consignment store's grand opening set

Good Deals Great Stuff, a new resale shop selling donated items, will hold a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, while participating in the opening of the Elkridge shopping center at 6520 Old Waterloo Road, where it is located.

Activities for children, live entertainment, giveaways, free food, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a grand prize drawing are planned.

The store, which sells new and used clothing, jewelry, household goods, appliances, books, videos and other items, was opened in November 2006 by the Linwood Center, an Ellicott City nonprofit organization serving people with autism and other disorders. The store offers jobs to Linwood's clients; proceeds from sales also benefit the Linwood Center.

Store hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 410-799-1530, or www.linwoodcenter.org.

Resources

Health care plan -- Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce and 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 -- Restaurant Association of Maryland, based in Columbia, 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 electrical power to commercial participants at a fixed rate that is lower than that offered by the local utility. The program offers long-term fixed pricing for up to five years, a price-reduction clause should energy rates decrease, the right to assign the contract should a business be sold, no historical-bandwidth usage requirement (the price is fixed) and elimination of additional charges in high-demand summer months. Paula Kreuzburg or Joe Gabriel, 800-874-1313.

Agriculture -- Agricultural Marketing Program of the Howard County Economic Development Authority is offering its Howard County "Farms & Services Guide," a resource for consumers interested in buying directly from farmers or farmers' markets. Listings include icons for each farm that provide a quick view of the products offered, including produce, farm products, agritourism, educational experiences, horse stabling and others. Agricultural support agencies, farmers' markets, a harvest calendar and other features are included. The agricultural marketing program has distributed the guide to the Howard County tourism office, libraries, welcome centers, the county extension office, the county agricultural preservation office and participating farms. To request a copy: 410-313-6500, or write to Ginger S. Myers, agriculture economic development specialist, Howard County Economic Development Authority, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 500, Columbia 21046.

Web -- Howard County Economic Development Authority is offering a Web-based resource for assessing, developing and marketing new agricultural enterprises and specialty food-processing businesses: its Electronic Agriculture Resource Center. In addition to information on business planning and management, the site, at www.hceda.org, also offers information on local, state and federal regulations and one-click access to county zoning and health code regulations. Ginger Myers, 410-313-6500.

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

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