Governor's Office of Minority Affairs
Small  Business  Bulletin - March 2017
Message from the Secretary
Every March, we celebrate National Women's History Month. Women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth of our nation in countless ways.  I have been fortunate to have very strong women in my life and I am grateful for all I have learned from them. W e celebrated the contributions of five trailblazing women during our Ready, Set, GROW! workshop held on March 21. Over 100 small business owners and guests attended the celebration, which included special Governor's Citations presented by First Lady Yumi Hogan. Here's a synopsis of these wonderful women:

Mi Kyung "Micky" Kim, owner of Honey Pig Korean BBQ. She is a dedicated restaurateur  who employs nearly 150 people at her four U.S. locations and gives back to her community through a scholarship program that helps high school graduates seek higher education goals.
Stella Miller, owner of Stella May Contracting. She has broken many barriers within the construction industry to grow her company to 85 employees. She is grateful for all of the support she has had along the way, and attributes much of her success to hiring a diverse workforce.
Walkiria Pool, president and founder of Centro de Apoyo Familia. She is revitalizing and stabilizing communities  and families through economic and social empowerment. She has built a network of more than 200 pastors and together they have served over 15,000 families.
Shelonda Stokes, president and CEO of greiBO. A strategic and visionary thinker in the event planning and entertainment industry, she knows how to engage an audience. She has been the executive producer of Baltimore's African American Festival for the past six years, growing the event to include international talent and empowerment seminars.
Eileen Straugh, president and CEO of Straugh Environmental, Inc. Her passion for the environment is leading to cost-effective solutions that produce better outcomes. She serves in key leadership positions with multiple nonprofit organizations to grow support for environmental restoration issues at the grassroots level.

My congratulations to these special women, and all the women who make Maryland a great place to live and work. 

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary
For Your Business
Legislative Update
The Maryland General Assembly's 90-day session is winding down. Several of the bills that impact small businesses include the re-authorization of the Minority Business Enterprise Program (SB004)
and efforts to modernize the state's procurement systems (SB0309/ HB0433; SB0310/HB0390; SB0311/HB0426). And these are just a few. With legislators looking at as  many as 4,000 bills, things are moving at a fast pace in Annapolis. Be sure to visit our Bill Tracker page to keep up on all proposed legislation that could impact the small business community. The page includes a link to help you locate your elected officials. Be your own advocate and voice your support or concerns to
your delegates and senator. They want to hear from you!

Attention Veteran Small Business Owners
Maryland has a procurement program specifically for veteran-owned small businesses.  The Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program expands contracting opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses by requiring state agencies to award 1 percent of the annual dollar value of state-funded contracts to certified  veteran -owned small businesses (COMAR 21.11.13). To achieve the VSBE goal, each agency assesses the  potential  for VSBE prime contractor and subcontractor participation on each contract. Only certified veteran-owned small businesses can meet the stated goal. If you're a veteran small business owner, learn more about the program and register today.

Free Analytics for Your Small Business
What metrics are you using to drive decisions regarding your business? You don't need fancy, expensive software to begin gathering data. Start with an asset you already have--your website. Google has a free web-traffic monitoring tool called Google Analytics, which includes data about website visitors such as where they are coming from, how they engage with your site, how long they stay, how many are new, and how many return. These key insights can help you make decisions about your website's effectiveness, and making decisions based on real numbers is much better than guessing. Google Analytics is free, so there's no reason not to use this valuable resource. Sign up today.
Delivering on our Customer Service Promise 
Governor Larry Hogan has implemented a Customer Service Promise to ensure that Marylanders are getting the best possible service from their state government. That includes developing a strong service culture based on formal customer service training. A Request for Proposal (MDF1031031484) is out right now for a statewide customer service training contract. Once implemented, employees from all agencies and all state offices will have access to training, either in person or online. The Governor's Business Ombudsman, Randall Nixon, is leading the customer service initiative. Contact him directly at or
410-697-9726 with any questions about implementation of the statewide customer service the initiative. 
Check out our full range of small, minority, and women
business resources at  
Maryland is OPEN for Business, and the Governor's
Office of Minority Affairs is connecting small, minority, and women businesses with resources that empower them to compete with confidence in the public and private sectors, while implementing and monitoring small and minority
business inclusion programs across 70 state agencies. Visit our website at to learn more.

Governor's Office of Minority Affairs