New Fund Spurs Economic Growth

Gale Horton Gay | 1/16/2013, 10:39 a.m.

Incentive fund dollars are flowing in Prince George's County.

Less than a year after rolling out an incentive fund program to spur local economic development, Prince George's County is experiencing the domino effect of its efforts.

Officials announced that their initial investment of $2.4 million in six county businesses has resulted in those businesses investing $26 million to develop their businesses.

"In its first months of full operation, our Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDIF) is paying dividends for the county in the form of private investment, growth in our tax base, and job creation and retention," said Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who called the fund the county's "Wow Factor ... signifying to the region and beyond that our doors are open for business."

The six projects are: The Hampton Inn, Information Management Services, Little Caesars Pizza (two sites), Man and Machine, Nash Finch, and Vocus, Inc. The $2,410,000 for these projects are expected to generate 358 new jobs, retain 627 jobs, and leverage $700,000 in Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development funds as well as $26 million in private investment.

Clifton Broumand's company Man and Machine received a half million dollar loan from the county's incentive fund program. The funds were used to modernize their production facility in Landover - expanding it from 10,000-square-feet to 18,500-square-feet - and for research and development for new products, Broumand said.

"We are one of the few true manufacturing companies selling outside of the U.S.," said Broumand, head of Man and Machine, which produces industrial keyboards engineered to withstand environmental hazards in the workplace.

He said the incentive funds have "strengthened his ability to deal with the risk" compared to if he had gotten a bank loan.

"This [incentive funds] help everybody and doesn't hinder anybody," said Broumand, adding that it helps him grow his company and grows his "footprint" in the county.

The company has been around for 30 years and has some 25 to 30 employees in its Maryland office as well as other employees worldwide.

"This first year of the EDI Fund was encouraging," said Gwen McCall, president and chief executive officer of Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation. "Some of the projects could not have gotten off the ground without EDI funds, so we are encouraged that we are headed in the right direction. This coming year, we will continue to aggressively market and promote the EDI Fund to assist us in attracting businesses to our county and to help us retain and expand our existing businesses."

The EDIF has proven to be an invaluable resource for the Prince George's County business community. Officials said the fund has validated the need for local businesses to have access to capital to grow, compete and succeed. The fund has also helped the county compete with its neighboring jurisdictions for companies looking to locate or relocate to the metropolitan area.

"Thanks to the EDI Fund, we can point to almost 1,000 jobs that we were able to retain, create, and add to the county in roughly half a year as a result of this new program. That's pretty impressive and more are in the pipelines," said Baker. "We have come out of the gate strong, but we want to do better by speeding up the process so that companies can begin expanding their businesses sooner. The more companies apply, the more investments we can make. The more investments we make, the more our county's commercial tax base grows and we increase revenues to improve our schools, health, and safety."