STRT1UP Road Show set for this Tues­day in Wal­dorf

Maryland Independent - - News -

Lo­cal en­trepreneur­ship ad­vo­cates and Startup Mary­land are bring­ing the Pitch Across Mary­land, STRT1UP Road Show to Charles County. The event will be held 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Tues­day, July 18, at the Leg­ends Club at Re­gency Sta­dium, 11765 St. Li­nus Drive, Wal­dorf. This year marks the sixth an­nual statewide STRT1UP Road Show tour.

The pro­gram is an op­por­tu­nity for tech­nol­ogy busi­nesses, start-ups and any­one in­ter­ested in in­no­va­tion to pitch ideas, net­work, and learn about South­ern Mary­land or­ga­ni­za­tions that sup­port busi­ness growth and de­vel­op­ment. Charles County will be host­ing the first event held for the South­ern Mary­land re­gion.

Dur­ing the event, en­trepreneurs are in­vited to climb on the Startup Mary­land bus and pitch their idea or busi­ness in a mo­bile video stu­dio. Videos are up­loaded to YouTube and then open to pub­lic view­ing/vot­ing, al­low­ing the en­trepreneurs, spon­sors, in­vestors and tour hosts to ac­ti­vate so­cial net­works for even broader aware­ness and cel­e­bra­tion. En­trepreneurs are pro­vided coach­ing, guid­ance and sup­port from busi­ness men­tors and other lead­ers from academia, in­cu­ba­tors/ac­cel­er­a­tors, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agen­cies and ser­vice providers, as well as ac­tive an­gel in­vestors.

This year’s STRT1UP Road Show stop in Charles County is a col­lab­o­ra­tion of the South­ern Mary­land re­gion’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tem part­ners,

SMADC an­nounces three new grants for farm­ers

The South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (SMADC) has an­nounced three new pro­grams specif­i­cally tar­geted to in­di­vid­ual farm­ers.

SMADC’s Agri­cul­tural Mini-Grant Pro­gram is open to ap­pli­cants age 16 and older, re­sid­ing and farm­ing in Anne Arun­del, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s or St. Mary’s coun­ties.

Grant awards will be made up to $2,000 per ap­pli­cant, as a one-to-one match and can be used for a va­ri­ety of projects. Ex­am­ples in­clude the pur­chase of foun­da­tion live­stock, pur­chase of plant stock, mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, fenc­ing, hoop house, and on-farm up­grades to en­hance food safety. Ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses and events are not el­i­gi­ble for pro­gram fund­ing.

“The mini-grants pro­gram is great for young or be­gin­ning farm­ers that need some as­sis­tance get­ting started and also for more ex­pe­ri­enced farm­ers who would like a lit­tle cap­i­tal to try out new ideas on the farm, or di­ver­sify their ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tions. We’re ex­cited about this pro­gram and we hope that many farm­ers will be able to take ad­van­tage of it,” said Shelby Wat­son-Hamp­ton, di­rec­tor of SMADC, in a press re­lease.

Along with the min­i­grant pro­gram, SMADC an­nounced two ad­di­tional pro­grams, of­fered in part­ner­ship with the Mary­land Agri­cul­tural and Re­source-Based In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (MARBIDCO).

The South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural Eq­uity In­cen­tive Match­ing Fund was es­tab­lished to in­cen­tivize loan re­quests from South­ern Mary­land farms and aqua­cul­ture pro­duc­ers and to help them meet cer­tain down-pay­ment (eq­uity) re­quire­ments.

“Com­mer­cial lenders typ­i­cally re­quire bor­row­ers to con­trib­ute some of their own money to­wards the fund­ing of a busi­ness project,” said Steve McHenry, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of MARBIDCO, in a press re­lease. “The eq­uity in­cen­tive match­ing money is go­ing to be a sig­nif­i­cant help to South­ern Mary­land farm­ers, es­pe­cially young and be­gin­ning farm­ers.”

Un­der this pro­gram, the farmer ap­plies di­rectly to one of MARBIDCO’s ex­ist­ing loan pro­grams. SMADC will con­trib­ute up to a max­i­mum of $20,000 to­wards a Mary­land Re­source-Based In­dus­try Fi­nanc­ing Fund Loan (MRBIFF) ap­pli­ca­tion and up to $5,000 to­wards the other loan pro­grams to be used as a down pay­ment (per ap­pli­cant), not to ex­ceed 5 per­cent of the project costs.

SMADC and MARBIDCO also es­tab­lished the South­ern Mary­land Re­volv­ing Loan Fund to as­sist South­ern Mary­land farm­ers with smaller agri­cul­tural projects that may not typ­i­cally be fi­nanced by a com­mer­cial lender. “This loan fund is in­tended to stim­u­late the agri­cul­tural econ­omy in South­ern Mary­land and en­hance the vi­a­bil­ity of ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tions,” said Wat­son-Hamp­ton.

Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $20,000, tar­geted to three spe­cific ar­eas: live­stock, small fruits, and Good Agri­cul­tural Prac­tices (GAP) and food safety up­grades.

Un­der the live­stock sec­tion of the loan, el­i­gi­ble uses in­clude the pur­chase of live­stock or ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion to im­prove herd ge­net­ics, re­frig­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties, fenc­ing and an­i­mal shel­ters, etc.

The loan’s small fruit sec­tion is in­tended to in­cu­bate the pro­duc­tion of small fruits and in­crease acreage of ex­ist­ing small fruit op­er­a­tions. Pro­duc­ers may ap­ply loan funds to­wards peren­nial, vine and root stock for blue­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries and black­ber­ries and/or trel­lis­ing and net­ting for small fruits.

The third sec­tion of the re­volv­ing loan pro­gram is for GAP and food safety up­grades such as drip ir­ri­ga­tion, wa­ter treat­ment, ir­ri­ga­tion wells, com­post struc­tures and equip­ment, har­vest­ing sup­plies and pack­ing house struc­tures.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Re­volv­ing Loan Pro­gram in­cludes an in­cen­tive for bor­row­ers in good stand­ing, for­giv­ing 20 to 25 per­cent of the loan amount due at the end of the loan term (by fore­go­ing the fi­nal one-quar­ter of amor­tiz­ing loan pay­ments).

Wat­son-Hamp­ton said the three new pro­grams, along with the Re­gional Agri­cul­tural Pro­gram (RAP) grant an­nounced last week, com­ple­ment SMADC’s mis­sion to pro­mote mar­ket-driven and prof­itable agri­cul­ture busi­nesses in South­ern Mary­land.

“Farm­ers in South­ern Mary­land have al­ready over­come pro­duc­tion chal­lenges while tran­si­tion­ing away from to­bacco. Our fo­cus now is to help them to en­hance, ex­pand and di­ver­sify their op­er­a­tions, so that we can pro­mote a thriv­ing re­gional agri­cul­tural econ­omy,” said Wat­son-Hamp­ton.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the Mini-Grant Pro­gram open and must be sub­mit­ted on­line on the “Farm Grants” page un­der “Farmer Re­sources” at www.smadc.com. Min­i­grant ap­pli­ca­tions are ac­cepted year round, but only re­viewed on a quar­terly ba­sis in Jan­uary, April, July and Oc­to­ber.

To qual­ify for the South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural Eq­uity In­cen­tive Match­ing Fund, pro­duc­ers should fol­low MARBIDCO’s reg­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tion process for the pro­gram of in­ter­est. Match­ing funds will be con­sid­ered in the ap­pli­ca­tion process and ap­plied to ap­proved loans for farm­ers re­sid­ing and do­ing busi­ness in the five-county South­ern Mary­land Re­gion. Pro­duc­ers in­ter­ested in the South­ern Mary­land Re­volv­ing Loan Fund should ap­ply di­rectly through MARBIDCO at marbidco.org.

Na­tional Oys­ter Cook-off call for recipes

The Na­tional Oys­ter Cook-off com­mit­tee is seek­ing great tast­ing recipes for the 38th An­nual Cook-off. Recipes will be ac­cepted un­til July 31. There are three cat­e­gories: Hors d’oeu­vres, Soups & Stews, and Main Dish. Three fi­nal­ists from each cat­e­gory will be se­lected to pre­pare their dish at the con­test, which will be held on Satur­day, Oct. 21, dur­ing the U.S. Oys­ter Fes­ti­val in Leonard­town.

First, sec­ond and third place prizes will be awarded in each cat­e­gory, with con­tes­tants tak­ing home $300, $200 and $150, re­spec­tively. The grand prize win­ner will re­ceive an ad­di­tional $1,000. There are also awards for Best Pre­sen­ta­tion and Peo­ple’s Choice. All con­tes­tants and a guest will be in­vited to a wel­come re­cep­tion and lodg­ing in a lo­cal ho­tel.

Judg­ing of the recipes is based on pre­dom­i­nance of oys­ters, oys­ter fla­vor, over­all taste of the dish, orig­i­nal­ity and pre­sen­ta­tion. Judges look for dishes that high­light the taste of the oys­ter.

Judges for the 2016 con­test were: John Shields, PBS cook­ing show host, cook­book au­thor and chef-owner of Gertrude’s in Bal­ti­more; Rob Kasper, former Bal­ti­more Sun syn­di­cated food colum­nist, au­thor and blog­ger; and San­dra Martin, ed­i­tor of Bay Weekly news­pa­per.

Sub­mit recipes to lisa. led­man@stmarysmd.com. For of­fi­cial rules and more in­for­ma­tion, go to http:// usoys­ter­fest.com/ page/6433524:Page:611

Con­test is spon­sored by the Ro­tary Club of St. Mary’s County, St. Mary’s County Depart­ment of Eco­nomic & Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment and the Mary­land Seafood Mar­ket­ing Pro­gram.

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