Casino funds will aid small business
The recent announcement that the Maryland Board of Public Works has designated Worcester County one of three fund managers to oversee distribution of casino monies set aside to provide loans to small, minority and woman-owned businesses, is great news for small businesses locally that have had trouble getting traditional loans to expand or modernize in recent years.
Approximately $430,000 in annual loan funding will be available for companies with fewer than 500 employees and revenues averaging less than $35 million over three years. Fifty percent of the funding must be lent to businesses located within a 10-mile radius of Ocean Downs. These monies will be available for up to five years, with a total estimate of more than $2 million to be allocated over that period.
Regardless of which side of the casino fence you sit, this is a real boon to our local economy, as small businesses make up the largest segment of the marketplace, and more importantly provide area residents with the majority of job opportunities.
The influx of new retail and other commercial space in the West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin areas the past few years has been encouraging, providing more of a year-round job and economic base for the areas outside the resort.
These funds will go a long way in ensuring this progression. Whether it’s helping a business maintain employees through leaner winter months or used to expand product lines and services, the money will be well spent.