Wondering which COVID-19 funding programs your business qualifies for? There’s a tool for that.
By Morgan Eichensehr – Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal | April 8, 2020
A new online tool has launched to help Maryland’s small businesses figure out which coronavirus relief and emergency funding programs they should apply for.
The tool, called Maryland Business Relief Wizard, was developed by Baltimore software firm Mindgrub Technologies and went live Wednesday. It offers an online portal that can guide business owners through a series of questions, then sort through every known COVID-19 relief funding program available from the federal, state and local governments, to determine which programs a business may qualify for. Maryland businesses can access the tool for free.
Mindgrub CEO Todd Marks said the idea for the portal was born out of discussions among some fellow members of the Maryland Tech Council, which represents the interests of hundreds of tech and life sciences companies throughout the state. Marks is the chairman of the tech council’s board.
“We wanted to figure out something we could really do with tech to get more involved and help with everything that’s going on right now,” Marks said. “We thought about the dozens of programs being thrown at people. It’s a real mess right now and small businesses are dying while they’re trying to figure it out on their own.”
Marks said he knows some small business owners are feeling overwhelmed by trying to sift through available funding programs, and their complicated eligibility requirements and application processes. And by the time they figure out what to apply for, he said, certain programs may already be out of available funds. He hopes the Relief Wizard tool will help simplify and streamline the process for business owners.
The Howard County Economic Development Authority is helping out by monitoring and consolidating all of the available programs and their eligibility requirements. The Relief Wizard portal will be updated daily, Marks said, to include any new funding programs and remove any that have already run out of funds to distribute.
The Relief Wizard online portal can be found here.
“Some companies are more used to navigating digital forms and working with banks,” Marks said. “But if you think about a small restaurant that has generally been selfsustaining, that never really had to take any financing and don’t have the means or banking relationships to figure this all out themselves — that’s who we’re trying to help.”
The Relief Wizard was conceptualized through a collective effort by several private firms including Mindgrub, law firm Offit Kurman, accounting firm Katz Abosch, BTS Software Solutions and more, as well as government organizations like the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Howard County Economic Development Authority. Marks said those partners will help spread the word about the new tool to local businesses through social media and word-of-mouth marketing.
Marks said the portal will stay up and be refreshed daily as long as special coronavirus funding programs remain available. He said Mindgrub may also add additional user tools to the site, depending on user demand.
Click here to read the article on the Baltimore Business Journal.