Small-Business Center Planned

The Prince George's Financial Services Corp., the Port Towns Community Development Corp. and the Maryland Small Business Development Center are forming a resource center for small-business owners in Bladensburg.

The Largo-based Prince George's Financial Services Corp. specializes in loans to small and minority-owned businesses. The Maryland Small Business Development Center is run by the University of Maryland at College Park and financed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Port Towns Community Development Corp. is a quasi-public economic development center that promotes economic development in Bladensburg, Colmar Manor and Cottage City.

The three organizations are planning to officially open the resource center later this year with the mission of retaining and developing small and minority-owned business inside the Capital Beltway. It will offer seminars, financial consultations and have a business resource library.

"It is something that is very much needed," said Jonathan Taylor, of the Port Towns Community Development Corp. "Small and minority businesses face particular management issues and problems with access to capital."

-- Krissah Williams


Sequoia Alumnus Starts Up, Again

Richard Faint has returned to the world of the start-up.

In 1996, Faint was hired as chief executive of Sequoia Software Corp., becoming the 12th employee at the Columbia company that made software for Web sites. Two years ago, he helped sell the company for $185 million in cash to Citrix Systems Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., software developer.

Faint and 240 other Sequoia employees then went to work for Citrix, joining the company's 1,500-member workforce. Faint, 51, became vice president of product and solutions marketing, and for a while he enjoyed the respite from overseeing a company's daily operations.

"But it didn't take long before I really missed the smaller-company environment," he said.

Back in Columbia, a fledgling company known as Impact Labs Inc., with about a dozen local workers, was producing compression software, which is based on complicated algorithms that help make computer data more compact. In Michigan, Impact has an additional 40 workers developing the software.

Impact, founded in 1996, had grown slowly, collecting a handful of government contracts to help compress picture and video files. Last year, one of the company's investors, hoping to help Impact grow more quickly, offered Faint a job.

"The company needed to make the transition from great technology to great products," Flint said. In September, he came back from Florida and signed on as Impact's chief executive.

Although he declined to provide specific figures, Faint said Impact's current revenue is "not substantial." Most of the company's sales are through a government reseller, which markets Impact's technology to the military.

"We don't know who most of our customers are," he said. "We don't have the security clearance."

Sales mostly to the military, defense and intelligence communities can be limiting, so Faint is hoping to expand Impact's customer base into financial services, health care and the entertainment industry. Impact's software, he said, can save companies money by reducing storage costs and transmission time for data. It also provides security because the compression includes encryption.

To develop this technology, private investors have backed Impact for about $15 million since it was founded. Faint expects to raise additional capital in the next year and hopes to increase sales.

"The cheapest way to raise capital is through revenue," Faint said.

-- Nicholas Johnston


Loyola to Open Graduate Center

Merritt Properties LLC, a regional commercial real estate company, said Loyola College of Maryland signed an agreement to lease 64,000 square feet in Columbia Corporate Park, 8890 McGaw Rd. Loyola plans to open a graduate center in May for programs in business administration, computer science, education and other disciplines.

The building will also house classrooms and offices for the Washington Montessori Institute and Loyola's programs in pastoral counseling and spiritual care.

-- Sabrina Jones