STRT1UP Road Show set for this Tuesday in Waldorf
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. email@example.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.