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Carroll County small businesses awarded grant money to assist with COVID-19 relief and recovery

f in Sykesville was recently chosen as a recipient of a BGE Energizing Small Business Grant to assist with COVID-19 relief and recovery. It was one of several Carroll County businesses that will receive the grant.

Kim Hope, minority business CEO of Maryland Print and Design, said she was “humbled” to receive the funds.

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Maryland Print and Design is a family-owned and -operated business that specializes in the creation of corporate logos, letterheads, business cards and other signage, as well as customized promotional items, direct mail campaigns, graphic designs and marketing for area businesses.

“With this generous award, we’re excited to double down on marketing efforts with direct-mail campaigns, social media and online video production,” Hope said. “The creation of teaching videos has proven helpful in reaching diverse groups of young aspiring professionals in the design and printing industry.”

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BGE’s grant program is part of the company’s $15 million pledge to assist small businesses experiencing hardship due to the pandemic and is a multiyear commitment expected to run through at least 2023. Each recipient will receive up to $20,000 in grant funding.

Since its inception, Maryland Print and Design has provided assistance to individuals with disabilities and their families. Hope said the grant funding will allow the business to continue to support local vendors and nonprofit organizations by way of sponsorships and donation of time.

“This wonderful honor is proof that giving back to your community, especially in challenging times, always bears fruit. We see this as proof that efforts to partner with the special nonprofit organizations we serve, our local printing vendors and youth with special needs in our neighborhood, all are making a lasting impact,” said Mike Hope, general manager of Maryland Print and Design.

BGE, Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility, partnered with Hello Alice, a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow, to provide the grants. To be eligible, for-profit businesses of between two and 25 employees must be located within BGE’s service area and be an existing customer with a good payment history.

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All applicants gained access to Hello Alice’s free COVID-19 Business Center to ensure consistent support and mentorship.

“Small business owners employ more than 60% of Americans and it is time for us to give back to them,” Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice, said in a news release. “[They] continue to hold our communities together despite persistent challenges in the new year.”

Other Carroll County businesses that were awarded grants include Hanover Land Services and Cultivated, both located in Westminster.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Maryland’s economy and are job creators,” Rodney Oddoye, BGE’s senior vice president of governmental and external affairs, said in a news release. “These businesses deserve a boost to help their recovery from the pandemic’s far-reaching impacts. … BGE’s Energizing Small Business Grants are a critical program to help stabilize the communities we serve and positively impact many local businesses during these uncertain times.”

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