Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or an experienced business owner, there are a variety of local agencies and organizations to help you move to the next level. Check out this short list of resources from business counseling to mentorship, networking opps to financial resources and more!  

Leadership Montgomery (LM) builds bridges between the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to improve our community.  LM provides six curriculum-and service-based programs:  Core, Emerging Leaders, Senior, Inside Montgomery, Youth and our Corporate Volunteer Council, as well as a post-graduate programming, and special events.

As a member of the current Core class, I can attest to the dynamic programming and personal and professional enrichment opportunities I’ve leveraged through LM.  Don’t miss this unique, life-altering opportunity to learn and grow with local business leaders.  Applications for LM 2018 are now being accepted – http://www.leadershipmontgomerymd.org/our-programs.  

The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network provides training, consulting and market and industry research to help aspiring and existing small businesses make sound decisions. You will not only receive sound advice from seasoned staff, but [if necessary], referral to industry experts or other specialty business consultants. SBDC also collaborates with local business leaders to stay abreast of economic trends, market conditions and financial resources to anticipate the changing needs in our dynamic small business economy.

The Local Small Business Reserve Program (LSBRP) ensures that County departments award procurement for goods, services and construction to registered and certified local, small businesses. The program assists County departments in identifying solicitations appropriate for LSBRP competition and allows local, small vendors an opportunity to compete for County contracts. Montgomery County-based retailers, construction and trades companies, wholesalers, and service firms are encouraged to participate.

The Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) helps start, sustain, and grow women-owned enterprises.  Their vision? To be a regional leader in building successful and innovative women-owned enterprises that stimulate job growth and overall economic development through training, counseling, and access to resources.

Since 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other assistance to small businesses. SBA focuses on four program functions:

  • Access to Capital
  • Entrepreneurial Development
  • Government Contracting
  • Advocacy

The NEW Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) brings a big and bold approach to achieving greater economic competitiveness and prosperity across our amazing County.

A nonprofit organization with a fresh public/private perspective, entrepreneurial spirit, and proactive approach to economic development, MCEDC is focused on maximizing our County’s rich diversity, talent, and deep business expertise to reclaim our leadership status in today’s hyper-competitive economic development environment.

Chambers of Commerce

Getting involved with you local Chamber of Commerce opens up a lot of opportunities: access to valuable information and resources, interaction with other members, business advice from prominent leaders in your local community, and more.

Here’s an abbreviated list of Chambers in Montgomery County:

Given our County’s rich diversity, we’re also home to the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, and more!

Small Business Network (SBN) is a collaboration between Montgomery Community Media, local chambers, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Washington Area District Office, Maryland Women’s Business Center, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, and Taylor-Leonard Corporation. Each year, SBN partners and sponsors bring thousands of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials together to network, collaborate, and share best practices in an effort to spur regional economic development. While [as Emcee and Executive Producer of SBN] I may be slightly bias, this program is a MUST if you’re looking to grow your small business!  For more information or to register for the next SBN, visit www.mymcmedia.or/sbn. You can also stay connected via Meetup or LinkedIn.

Naturally, this list is the tip of the iceberg.  Our region is chock full of resources to help your business flourish. Got a resource you’d like to share? Add it in the Comment section below.

Kelly Leonard is a speaker, trainer, award-winning CEO, and former Fortune 100 vice president. A certified public accountant (CPA-inactive) and corporate trainer with more than 25 years’ service in government, non-profit, private and public industries, Kelly has an innate ability to connect with diverse audiences across disciplines.

Although Taylor-Leonard Corporation’s clients include government agencies, nonprofits, and publicly traded companies, Kelly is most passionate about leveraging the best practices of multinational enterprises to influence and impact entrepreneurs and the small business community.

Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Kelly is the host and is executive producer of Small Business Network (SBN).  Each year, SBN brings thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses together to support innovation and economic development.  Additionally, Kelly leads other initiatives aimed at increasing small business awareness and engagement through vendor outreach, procurement, and collaboration with large, private enterprises.  

Kelly maintains professional affiliations with numerous organizations; among them, Nehemiah Project, Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, Women Business Owners of Montgomery County, and Leadership Montgomery.

Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ktleonard

Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellytleonard

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