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Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announces German partnership at inaugural State of Business address

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addressed residents Tuesday at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City for the inaugural State of Business address.

The ticketed event, which was originally combined with the Ball’s State of the County address, was separated for the first time this year. Ball’s State of the County speech will take place in the fall and will be free and open to the public.

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During his remarks Tuesday, Ball described the state of the county as one at a crossroads.

“The age of opportunity starts with businesses right here in our neighborhoods,” Ball said. “I have made it a core mission of my administration to provide personal and targeted support to grow and strengthen our business community.”

Ball announced the Howard County Economic Development Authority and German Cyber Security Council will sign a memorandum of understanding, saying that German companies entering the U.S. market could establish space at the Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia. The exchange platform also will provide support to local firms looking to enter the German market, according to a county news release.

According to the release, the exchange platform is the first of its kind for the German Cyber Security Council in the United States. The official signing of the memorandum will take place March 26 at the Maryland Innovation Center.

“I envision a business community that extends globally, appealing to companies from all over the world,” Ball said.

The Maryland Department of Commerce also provided support to facilitate the partnership.

“This is exciting news for Maryland and Howard County as we continue to increase our global partnerships that focus on attracting cybersecurity companies to our state,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz in a statement.

Ball also announced Tuesday two workshops hosted by the Howard County Office of Purchasing, are set to take place next month and will focus on information technology and construction for local businesses.

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At the end of his remarks, Ball and Howard County Chamber of Commerce President Leonardo McClarty participated in a question-and-answer session.

For the last 15 years, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce has worked with the county executive’s office to put on the State of the County, and this was the first year the county has separated a business address from that annual event. Members of the county chamber could attend the State of Business for $60, and nonmembers could attend for $70.

“[The remarks] were very positive with the number of activities that have been undertaken in the last year or so. It definitely demonstrates, from the county executive and his team, that there is a commitment to supporting small business and major institutions in Howard County,” McClarty said in a phone interview Wednesday.

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