Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

Small Business

America’s 27 million small businesses are the heart of our nation’s economic engine. They make up more than 99 percent of America’s firms and employ more than half our workforce. One of my top priorities is to ensure that small businesses get the support and capital they need to create new jobs and build our economy. I will continue to work to ensure Maryland’s small businesses have access to credit and other tools essential for their success.

As a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, I look forward to developing and overseeing policies that will stimulate investment in small businesses, empower them to succeed, and help them create jobs for Marylanders and the American people. I will also prioritize strengthening the minority small business community, as diverse small-business ownership is key to our economy’s future.

Key Facts

  • Maryland’s 526,663 small employers account for 97.6% of the state's employers and 52.4% of its private-sector employment.
  • The Affordable Care Act provides $40 billion in tax credits for up to 4 million small businesses, including up to 76,794 in Maryland, to help offset the costs of purchasing coverage for their employees and makes premiums more affordable.
  • There are 164,253 minority-owned businesses in Maryland, representing a 48.7 percent increase from 2002-2007.
  • 172,221 small businesses in Maryland are owned by women.
  • Since its creation in 1982, in Maryland the Small Business Innovation Research program has generated more than 84,000 patents and millions of jobs.


Where can I find information on starting or managing a small business in Maryland?
Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration at or Maryland’s Department of General Services here.
What is SBIR and how does this program help small businesses competing for federal contracts?
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is designed to increase the participation of small, high technology firms in the federal R&D endeavor. Technology-based companies with less than 500 employees tend to be highly innovative, but these businesses continue to be underrepresented in government R&D activities. Current law requires that every federal department with an R&D budget of $100 million or more establish and operate an SBIR program. Current law requires that 2.5% of the agency’s applicable extramural research and development budget is to be used to support mission-related work in small companies, although Congress is considering legislation to raise this amount.
What is STTR and how does this program help small businesses?
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is similar to the SBIR program, but it requires the small business to work with a nonprofit research institute. The Small Business Administration (SBA) coordinates and oversees the STTR program but does not provide funding for the awards. Phase I awards are a maximum of $100,000 for one year. Phase II awards are for a maximum of $500,000 over two years. While there is no STTR funding for phase III, the awarding agency may issue a sole source contract to a team that has successfully reached this stage.  Congress is considering legislation to increase the amounts of these award levels.
Newsletter Sign-up