Two more application rounds for grants will be open to additional companies in 2021
(Apr. 26, 2021) - This month, BGE awarded 88 small businesses
located within BGE's service area $20,000 grants through its Energizing Small Business Grants program. This program is part of BGE's $15 million pledge to assist small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery and is a multi-year commitment expected to run through at least 2023.
'Small businesses are a vital part of Maryland's economy, creating jobs throughout the state-and they unfortunately bore the brunt of COVID-19's economic fallout. BGE's Energizing Small Business Grants program is critical to helping stabilize local businesses and the communities we serve,' said BGE CEO Carim Khouzami. 'These grants also complement our Customer Relief and Energy Infrastructure Investment Plan
that freezes customer rates in 2021 and supports more than 26,000 jobs in Maryland. The pandemic has far-reaching impacts and this multi-layered approach to supporting our customers, businesses and communities will help our region recover and thrive.'
Of the 88 recipients (click here
for a full list of recipients), 26% are in the food and beverage industry, 14% in healthcare and wellness, 12% in professional business services and 10% in beauty and self-care. A majority of the grants went to businesses owned by historically marginalized groups and a full 82% have fewer than 10 full-time employees.
'I am beyond pleased to be a recipient of the BGE Energizing Small Business Grant. It couldn't come at a better time. I will be able to catch up on my deferred rent payments and keep my place of business. This grant will also make it possible for me to bring back some part time help,' said Elaine McCloud, grant recipient and president of Glen Burnie-based Ambrosia Caterers
BGE partnered with Hello Alice
, a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, a Washington, DC-based organization that supports entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. and around the world, to provide the grants. All applicants gain access to Hello Alice's free COVID-19 Business Resource Center to ensure consistent support and mentorship to all business owners. Businesses will be able to apply for grants during two additional application periods: May 5 - June 16 and Sept. 1 - Oct. 13.
'The impact that the ongoing pandemic has had on small businesses has been well documented, as have the even more devastating impacts on minority and women entrepreneurs. In partnership with BGE, we are thrilled we were able to support this grant program for the 88 small businesses that are so well-deserving, 56% of which are woman-owned and 66% of which are minority-owned, groups that are historically underfunded and underserved,' said Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice.
In addition to small business grants, BGE's comprehensive efforts to support Marylanders
during the COVID-19 pandemic have included an additional $1.5 million contribution to the Fuel Fund of Maryland, $1 million in funding to county-administered business pandemic relief funds, expansion of BGE's Workforce Collaborative infrastructure academy
to train approximately 600 local residents for job placement over the next three years, and extending flexible payment arrangement
plans to help qualifying customers to maintain their electric and gas service. BGE and the Exelon companies in Maryland directed $1.25 million to Maryland relief organizations, including the Maryland Food Bank, United Way of Central Maryland, PCs for People, and the Baltimore Community Foundation. The Energizing Small Business Grants program and all nonprofit contributions are made using shareholder dollars and are not reflected in customer bills.
BGE is Maryland's largest natural gas and electric utility, providing safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company was founded in 1816 as the nation's first gas utility and remains headquartered in Baltimore City to this day. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Engage with the latest BGE stories on bgenow.com and connect with BGE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.