La Plata, MD – Charles County is seeking to ignite small businesses and Friday, May 12 at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) in La Plata they did just that.

IGNITE, the Charles County Business Resource Fair, held at CSM’s Business and Industry Building, brought together exhibitors and entrepreneurs to showcase and display resources for the small business committee.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this,” said Darrell A. Brown, director, Charles County Economic Development Department. “We wanted to do something special for the business community. We wanted to get entrepreneurs thinking about entrepreneurs.

“We wanted it all in one place,” he added. “We wanted it to be an educational institution. College of Southern Maryland offered their resources.”

Brown noted that it was a perfect fit.

“We understand the future of our community is going to be entrepreneurism,” Dr. Bradley Gottfried, CSM president explained. “As you grow and prosper, Charles County is going to grow and prosper.”

“In government, we do not create jobs, you do,” Brown asserted. “It’s the responsibility of Economic Development to make sure you have the resources to create those jobs.”

Brown acknowledged that bringing a new business to a community is never easy.

“That’s challenging all over,” he said. “It’s true in Charles County, but it’s also true in Montgomery County and some of the other jurisdictions. Business is very dynamic these days. It’s challenging for all of us.”

That’s where an event like IGNITE—an acronym for Industry, Government, Networking, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneur—helps in so many ways, he said. The agencies represented at the fair included everyone from the Internal Revenue Service to the Small Business Administration, encompassing state, federal and local resources. The idea is to help small start-up businesses thrive.

Local business people spoke at two sessions, morning and afternoon, telling their stories and offering advice on pitfalls and strategy.

“You should be your own expert,” Guy Black, Blackout Investigations and Security Services, told the assembly. “You should know more about what you do than anyone else. Talk and sell your business. Never stop educating yourself about your business.”

“We want to broadcast to small businesses in Charles County that Charles County is a good place to do business,” Brown said. “We want to build a strong support system. Through this initiative, to get all of this anywhere else, it’s thousands of dollars. You don’t have to pay for that. It’s all here for you.”

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com