CAMBRIDGE, MD (January 7, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley stopped by an Eastern Shore poultry business before hosting a roundtable discussion with local business leaders in Cambridge today. The Governor highlighted recently-announced initiatives to strengthen small businesses in Maryland, create jobs, and fuel innovation to drive economic progress through Maryland.
“Small and family-owned businesses are the heart and soul of our State and the key to how we’re going to turn the corner from recession to recovery to prosperity,” said Governor O’Malley. “Nearly three in five jobs in our State come from businesses with fewer than 100 employees. These businesses are vital to strengthening our economy, helping us grow and strengthen our middle class, fuel innovation, and create jobs in Maryland.”
Governor O’Malley visited AviHome, a Cambridge poultry industry plant that manufactures vapor barriers and flooring to replace woodchips and dirt in poultry houses, where CEO’s Rafael Correra showed the Governor some of the innovative industry tools developed at the Cambridge facility. Later, the Governor joined about thirty area business leaders for a discussion about the challenges and opportunities during these tough economic times, recently-announced initiatives to create jobs in Maryland, and partnership opportunities to fuel innovation and drive economic progress.
“I’m excited about the potential of AviHome’s technology as it positively affects the most important industry in our community and the important role it plays,” said AviHome CEO Rafael Correa.
“We are very pleased and appreciative that Governor O’Malley is visiting the Eastern Shore and our companies to see first-hand the innovative products that are made by the many small businesses that dominate the Shore,” said Richard Bernstein, President & CEO of LWRC International, LLC, an affiliated company with AviHome. “Small business has been the backbone of the job creation over the past decade and with strong leadership provided by Governor O’Malley, will continue to lead the state and nation out of the current recession.”
Recently, Governor O’Malley announced an economic agenda that includes an expansion of small business loan guarantees to expand access to credit for Maryland small businesses; a job creation tax credit for businesses who hire unemployed workers; and immediate tax relief for small businesses who are facing steep increases in unemployment insurance taxes due to rising unemployment over the last year.
“Maryland is fortunate to have the insight and involvement of a diverse and diversified business community,” said DBED Secretary Christian Johansson. “Today’s convening of Cambridge and mid-shore based business owners and leaders continues a robust dialog between small business and the Governor focused on concrete actions we can take to strengthen our economy like the recent recommendations put forward by the Small Business Task Force and adopted by the O’Malley-Brown administration.”
Governor O’Malley has held similar small business roundtable discussions throughout the state over the past several months. These small business “check-in” discussions allow small business owners an opportunity to meet informally with Governor O’Malley and members of the Administration to discuss relevant topics, including the impact of the national recession on local small businesses, the need for health care reform so employees of small businesses can have access to affordable, quality health care, and the many resources and services available to Maryland companies looking to grow.
Over the last several months, the Governor has aggressively pursued a strategy to strengthen small businesses and expand opportunity, including the creation of the Small Business Task Force, the release of a ten-point strategy to strengthen small business in Maryland, development of MBE University to encourage women- and minority-owned firms to grow and do business with the state, and encouragement of the Maryland Congressional delegation to target TARP funds to expanding access to capital for small businesses.
Maryland remains one of only seven states in the nation to defend a Triple A bond rating, and the state’s unemployment rate remains consistently well-below the national average. Maryland is home to a strong competitive advantage with the nation’s best public school system, according to Education Week Magazine, and therefore one of the strongest workforces in the country.