COVID-19 Business News
Small, Minority, Women-Owned Business Help Available

Grants and Loans are still available for small, minority, and women-owned businesses through fund managers at two financial institutions - FSC First and Meridian Management Group (MMG). The Maryland’s Small, Minority, and Women Owned Business Account COVID-19 RELIEF Program offers up to $50,000 in paired loans and grants to eligible businesses facing continued financial impacts from the pandemic. The program is first-come, first-served.

Applicants to the MMG program should contact Mark Harrison. Information on the FSC First program is here.
Small Business Rent Relief Grants Opens Soon

According to the website on the Montgomery County Small Business Rental Assistance Program, applications will open "in the coming days." The program will provide grants to small businesses in qualifying industries to support rental costs, both current and arrears rent payments. To receive emails from the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), that will administer the program, please click here. For details on the program and eligibility, click here.
BGE Opens Round II of Small Business Grants

Small businesses located within BGE's service area can now apply for a BGE Energizing Small Business Grant of $20,000. This grant program is part of BGE's $15 million pledge to assist small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery and is a multi-year commitment expected to run through at least 2023.

Interested eligible business owners can apply now at bge.helloalice.com. For technical assistance while completing the applications, business owners should contact alice@helloalice.com. The program is accepting applications through May 16.

May Events
Comeback Coffee with the Chamber - In Person!

Join the Chamber for the first in-person networking event of 2021!

Purchase your own coffee and pastry item from PJ's Coffee of New Orleans and join us outside on PJ's patio and the LDG parking lot, where there will be with plenty of space for safe distancing.

Free for members, $15 for non-members.

Check in will be contactless, so bring your own nametag. Masks will be required when not actively eating or drinking. Parking information will be included in the registration confirmation email.

In lieu of business card exchanges, the chamber will share attendee contact information after the event; any members wishing to opt out may contact Julie Pawlikowski.

Wednesday, May 19
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Latest News
Survey Says: Many Members Ready for Outdoor In-Person Events

The results are in and nearly 80% of Chamber members completing the GSSCC In-Person Events & Meetings 2021 Survey said they are comfortable attending outdoor networking events with up to 50 people. The numbers are significantly lower for larger outdoor events later this spring, with only about 35% ready to attend an outdoor event with up to 100 others.

A little more than half (58%) of respondents said they would be comfortable attending indoor networking events with up to 25 people, with numbers dropping significantly (22%) for larger events. About 36% of respondent said they would not attend an indoor event at this time.

Just more than 65% said they are interested and would participate virtually, if that option is offered for in-person events. 75% will continue to attend virtual meetings.

GSSCC thanks the members who took the time to complete the survey. Staff will use this information to plan programming for the rest of the spring and early summer.

Future Business Operations Will Include In-Office and Telework

When responding to a question about what members would need to feel comfortable attending an in-person event, 81% want to see mask-wearing enforced, 79% expect event space sufficient for safe distancing, 67% want hand sanitizer stations available, and 38% would like contactless check-in. Only about 30% said they would need proof of vaccination for all attendees.

Included in the survey were questions about how businesses are operating. Only 24% are fully back in the office; 34% operate with a combination of in-office and telework; and 42% are still fully remote. In the next six months, 27% plan to bring staff fully back into the office; 45% will continue a combination of in-office and telework; and 16% will continue to work remotely.
Heads Up Employers: MoCo Minimum Wage Increases July 1

The minimum wage in Montgomery County will increase on Thursday, July 1. The amount of the increase is determined by the number of workers employed by a business. 

The County’s per hour minimum wage will rise to $15 for large employers with 51 or more employees, $14 for medium-sized employers having between 50 and 11 employees, and $13.50 for small employers having 10 or fewer employees.  

Most employees must be paid at least the Montgomery County minimum wage rate. Employees age 18 and under, working under 20 hours per week, are exempt from this rate. Employees under 18 years of age must earn at least 85 percent of the State minimum wage rate.
Employers Can Report Job Refusals, Employees Refusing to Return to Work on DOL BEACON Portal

Employers may now use their BEACON 2.0 employer portal to report job refusals and employee return to work dates to the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI).

When an employer offers a job to an individual who has filed for unemployment or recalls a former employee in layoff status and the individual refuses the job (or fails to return), the employer must notify the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) within 15 days of the refusal. DUI will then determine whether the claimant should be paid or denied benefits. Additional information may be requested from the employer.

The Department of Labor recently sent the information linked here to all BEACON account holder employers. It includes specific instructions on how to report.
Montgomery County Procurement Office Launches Vendor Innovation Portal for Small Businesses

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement recently launched the Vendor Innovation Portal (VIP), a new web-based service to connect small business vendors with County departments. This new initiative comes as recognition of May being Small Business Month.

VIP will allow businesses to introduce their company and connect with the most appropriate contacts in the County that could best utilize their goods or services. Vendors can access the portal here.
Check Out Your Chamber's Money-Saving Member-2-Member Discount Program 

One of the many benefits your Chamber membership provides is the Member-2-Member Discount Program. Save money and support your fellow Chamber members at the same time. All company employees are eligible to take advantage of these savings.

Not sure what to offer? Consider a percentage discount, complimentary consultation, discount on a specific product, waiving an application fee, or a reduced membership fee.

Increase your visibility, draw in new customers, and save money with the Chamber’s Member-2-Member Discount program today.

To view a list of the current Member-2-Member Discounts, click here. If you are interested in offering a new Member-2-Member Discount, please log into your company portal and click on the "Create a Coupon" link. If you have questions, please contact cjenkins@gsscc.org.
* KID Museum is hiring for a variety of positions in education, development, and marketing. Read here for more information.

* AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center’s AFI DOCS Film Festival returns Tuesday, June 22, and ends Sunday, June 27. GSSCC will again participate as a promotional partner, providing an opportunity to bring the Chamber's message to a wider audience. Early bird passes are now available. Read here for more details.

* &pizza, Fire Station 1 Restaurant, Kefa Café, Manny & Olga's Pizza, Negril Eatery, Society Silver Spring, and Spice Street will be part of Taste the World of Fenton Village from Sunday, May 16, to Saturday, May 22.

* “Bike to Work Day” is Friday, May 21, and the Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation and Montgomery County Commuter Services has sponsored 15 pit stops as part of the annual region-wide celebration. The first 15,000 bikers to register and participate get a free 20th anniversary commemorative T-shit and all participants who register are entered into a raffle for a chance to win a new bike. Read here for more information and registration details.


See your company's news here! Send us your news releases and news items by noon on Friday for publication in the following Monday's edition. Click here for guidelines on submitting Member News.
Upcoming Committee/Network Meetings

* Non-Profit Team Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11.

* Membership Development Committee Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25.

* Economic Development Committee Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26.

* Small Business Owners Network Virtual Meeting - 12 noon on Thursday, June 3. Topic: Ways to make your brand known - to your target audience, your internal team, and beyond. (Advance registration required here).
OUR MISSION:
Working to enhance the economic prosperity of greater Silver Spring through robust promotion of 
our member businesses and unrelenting advocacy 
on their behalf.
Thank you to our 2019-2020 GSSCC Partners

Corporate Partners - Downtown Silver Spring; Lee Development Group; Montgomery College; Joseph W. McCartin Insurance;
Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center

 Business Partners - Andalman & Flynn, AFI Silver Theatre; Apex Home 
Loans; Atlantech Online; Digital Industry; EagleBank; Holy Cross Hospital; The Fillmore Silver Spring; Lerch, Early & Brewer Chtd.; United Therapeutics Corporation; Washington Property Company.

 Partners - Peak Performance Digital; Bell Flowers; EBA Ernest Bland Associates; Image360.
Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
8601 Georgia Avenue Suite 203
301-565-3777
info@gsscc.org