Once known as the “Athens of America”, rich in history and renown for the high quality of life that locals enjoy, Annapolis is also a great place to start a business.
With excellent logistical infrastructure, Annapolis is located just 30 miles from Washington DC, Annapolis is within a reasonable and practical distance of New York, which can be reached with a 3.5-hour drive or a 4.5-hour train journey.
Annapolis is also beautiful and attracts tourists from around the world thanks to its history and 17th-century architecture. Annapolis is often referred to as the sailing capital of the US, with many sailing schools and cruises to choose from.Annapolis now has its own Economic Development Corporation which provides support to local businesses.
Starting a Business in Maryland
Looking at the state of Maryland itself, the location is ideal for many business startups and the local communities are well known for being supportive and positive. Some of the biggest brands in the entire country have called Maryland home for decades. Tech giants such as Cisco, huge pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and many successful tech entrepreneurs provide a robust local economy which often filters over to startups. The types of businesses found in Maryland encompass a broad range, with industry leaders such as Under Armour, McCormick and Legg Mason found here.
The transportation infrastructure, much like Annapolis is world-class, thanks to the large yet efficient ports, airport and rail network. The University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University are also considered world-class colleges and provide a youthful and highly skilled workforce for local businesses to take advantage of. Offering courses and programs in everything from accounting to biochemistry, the graduates come with a broad range of skills!
There is also a large federal presence in Maryland. With NASA Goddard Visitor Center, The NSA and the National Institutes of Health contributing a major, beneficial presence in the state.
Like Annapolis, the rest of the state offers an outstanding quality of life. With huge recreational and historical parks, beautiful beaches, museums and historical buildings such as Fort McHenry, there is certainly plenty to see and do.
Starting a Business in Annapolis
The process of starting a business in Annapolis will differ significantly depending on the nature of the business. With many 2020 startups working from home, for example, the legislation and permits required to form a business will differ from a company that wants to refurbish an old building into offices. Consider whether or not your company will have employees, to begin with, and if not, will there be any costs related to outsourcing or the use of apps related to business tasks such as telephone answering, project management, digital marketing and/or bookkeeping?
If you are thinking of starting a business in Annapolis, then a good first step is to reach out to the Small Business Development Center or SCORE of Southern Maryland. With the help of one of these organizations, you can develop an Annapolis-specific business plan, with details regarding financing options, training and the consideration of local laws, customs and economic structure.
You will have to complete at least one permit, depending on the type of business you want to start. Again either the local development center or SCORE can help you with this. Most of the forms can be found on the relevant section of the .gov website. Remember to include any costs related to permits and applications within your business plan.
The commercial space inventory reports provide information on zoning, vacancies and relevant brokers. For assistance with Planning and Zoning, get in touch with the local department here.
Other third-party organizations such as the AAEDC can work with a business once it is setup, by providing detailed information on important things such as business to business mailing lists, and acts as a liaison working with businesses, retail outlets and development organisations.
Due to the pandemic, there are a number of ‘emergency grants’ available. A stimulus package – business owners can apply for loans or grants through the Cares Act, but it can be tricky for new businesses to secure funding.
Private sectors are also offering help with financing at the moment, especially for non-profit organizations. There are so many different programs, with different qualifications. You can get some tips from the “Grant Writing Quick Tips” which can be found on the Pitch Consulting website.
Your local city or county, should as the Economic Development Corporation found in Annapolis should be able to help you contact the organizations that may be able to provide grants and loans.
Some specific Google searches can also help you to quickly find funding opportunities. Say for example, you are thinking of opening a restaurant in Annapolis, search for “restaurant business grants Maryland” to see specific advice and find specific organizations that may be able to help.