EASTON — Perhaps you have a great idea for a business. How do you launch it, fund it and market it?
The BAAM Center hosted a business growing event on Saturday and it was attended by over 90 people who wanted to learn from the experts about growing or starting their own business. There were accountants, lenders and government agencies all excited to offer help and start a business relationship.
There were tables lined up that were staffed and filled with brochures. Rows of chairs were not enough to contain the overflow of attendees. So, Derek Daly, co-founder of BAAM, brought in more chairs. Cassandra Vanhooser, Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism director, was there greeting people as a host.
“We brought all of our resource partners to exhibit today and we are connecting current business owners, entrepreneurs, to the resources that are going to help them succeed. Most of our partners bring financial resources to the table. So we have got banks, we’ve got accounting firms, we have got Maryland Capital Enterprise — a micro financier. We have the Department of Housing and Community Development. We have the Maryland Health Connection, who have resources for insurance for businesses. It’s a great place for people who want to start or grow their business,” said Vanhooser.
This fair was also for people starting their very first business.
“They can help you develop a business plan, find the financial resources to get it started and connect you with advertisement. It is all you need to start a business. We want to reach the entire community and BAAM is a great place to come to. We are hoping to draw minority business interests as well. That is why we partnered with us, Talbot Mentors and the Multi Cultural Center,” said Dina Daly, the executive director of BAAM and a co-host of the event.
Derek Daly said to the crowd, “We have everything you need as the potential of current business owners here to take advantage of. Collect all of the information that is here. Follow up, that is the key. It is one thing getting here, but if you don’t follow up and you don’t pursue it, it will never happen.”
As more and more faces came in the door, these two were getting excited. Keasha Haythe, Talbot County Council member, gave a rousing and short pep talk speaking from her own experience starting a business.
There were boxes of Rise Up coffee and mini mountains of breakfast sandwiches wrapped in aluminum foil to serve to visitors who came to the event.
Richard Loeffler, a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center, was the main speaker. He made all the worry about accounting, regulations and loans seem navigable.
“What we do is we work with people that want to start their own business or they want to expand their business. They typically do not have enough money to get the business off the ground. There is no charge for working with us. We are funded by the state of Maryland or partially funded by the Small Business Administration and Talbot County supports us,” said Loeffler.
He detailed some business plan basics like getting a credit statement and making a personal financial statement disclosing assets.
Romont Fletcher is a real estate agent in Caroline County. He has been in business for seven years
“Today is going to help me through networking and meeting like-minded individuals. It is just the people that are most important. I have a stack of cards,” said Fletcher.
There was a palpable charge of excitement in the large gymnasium. These people are ready to get to work.