Banks Form Task Force

The Charles County Economic Development Commission and nine banks have joined to form the Bankers' Task Force to ease access to financing for businesses looking to expand or relocate in Charles County.

The banks involved are Allfirst, BB&T, Bank of America, Bank of Southern Maryland, Community Bank of Tri-County, County First Bank, Crestar Bank, Maryland Bank & Trust and Old Line National Bank.

"Financing is a very important aspect of business expansion and relocation activities," EDC Executive Director Aubrey Edwards said. "The consortium provides businesses with access to both the EDC and banks for financial resources."

The task force recently helped establish a revolving loan guarantee fund, which uses county and private resources to help secure new businesses or assist in the expansion of existing operations.

Home-Based Business Expo

The Calvert County Chamber of Commerce and Wal-Mart are sponsoring an expo for local home-based businesses next month.

The Millennium Home-Based Business Expo is scheduled at the Prince Frederick Wal-Mart story on Jan. 22 and 23. Twenty home-based businesses will be able to exhibit their products and services from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days at the store. Proceeds from the event will go to Wal-Mart's World War II Memorial Fund.

Chamber Executive Director Carolyn McHugh said holding the event at the Wal-Mart store will give the local businesses built-in exposure to the hundreds of customers who enter the store each day.

Home-based business operators will be able to rent table space at the expo for $65 for Saturday or Sunday, or $100 for both days, plus a $25 registration fee. Reservations should be made through the chamber office by calling 410-535-2577.

Charles Chamber Banquet

The Charles County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 44th annual banquet, at which its new president is honored each year, on Jan. 15 at Middleton Hall in Waldorf.

The theme of this year's event is the "Presidential Gala's Crystal Ball," and it will feature futuristic decorations, according to a statement from the chamber. The event is semi-formal with black tie optional. To register or for more information, call the chamber at 301-932-6500 or 301-870-3089.

SCORE Offers Free Counseling

SCORE, the Senior Corps of Retired Executives, offers business counseling at no cost to people starting new ventures as well as those operating existing businesses. The service, provided through the St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce, is available on the second Friday of each month at the chamber office in Mechanicsville.

One-hour appointments are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Clients are asked to fill out a form ahead of time to help volunteers understand the ventures. Additional information is available from the chamber at 301-884-5555.