You Are Invited to ‘Meet The Labs’!

7:59 am

You Are Invited! Join us for Tuesday, September 25, 2018 from 10:00AM to 2:00 PM for ‘Meet the Labs’, co-hosted by Energetics Technology Center and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The event, sponsored by the Rural Maryland Council, will be held at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California, MD. The program will consist of panel discussions on Technology Transfer and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by subject matter experts from NASA, USDA, DOE, NAWCAD, NIST, NSWC IHEODTD, ARL and NOAA. Network with the agencies during lunch. Federal Gov’t employees attend at no cost. To register, visit

Program Agenda: (click here to download a PDF copy of the Agenda)

Agenda for Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day

11:32 am

Click here to view the Agenda for our upcoming event, Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day.

Click here to view the Charles County Commissioners’ Proclamation for Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day.

Don’t forget, the keynote address will be given by Mr. Ben Wu the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce.

To register and for additional information, visit

Charles County Commissioners Proclaim June 28th as Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day!

11:32 am

Charles County Commissioners Proclaim June 28th as Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day!

View the Proclamation

Here’s a photo of the signed proclamation:

Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day

9:59 am

Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day will highlight business opportunities in the Town of Indian Head

On Thursday, June 28, 2018, Energetics Technology Center (ETC) and Charles County Economic Development, with support from the Rural Maryland Council, will host Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day at the Indian Head Pavilion on the Village Green in Indian Head, Maryland. Emphasizing technology-based economic development, the day-long event will spotlight innovation and business growth opportunities in the Town of Indian Head and in Charles County, Maryland. The event will feature leadership from Maryland Department of Commerce, the Town of Indian Head, Charles County, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (IHEODTD), Energetics Technology Center, TEDCO, Rural Maryland Council, Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, and successful entrepreneurs. Admission is open to the public. Entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, researchers, and innovators are encouraged to attend. Indian Head businesses interested in exhibiting should contact John Millemaci at

Indian Head Innovation and Discovery Day hours will run from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm. General event admission is $15, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Federal, Charles County, and Indian Head government employees will be admitted free of charge. Following the activities, there will be a no-host reception and networking event at the Black Box Theater from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, across the street from the Indian Head Pavilion.

To register and for additional information, visit

Lunch-n-Learn Series: Finding –> Firing & Everything in Between

1:13 pm

TechFire Lunch-n-Learn Series:  Finding –>Firing & Everything in Between




 May 23, 2016

Noon – 1:00 pm

Kathy will share the following 5 time-tested and tried invaluable tips she has learned over her work lifetime as a human resources executive and consultant.

Know and acknowledge your company’s culture

  1. Don’t hurry up and hire!
  2. Spend the time orienting & training your staff
  3. Always give performance feedbacks
  4. Not all hires work out – what’s next?

Don’t miss this FREE presentation! Bring your lunch and listen as Kathy shares her winning, practical, common sense approach to finding, hiring, and retaining the best employees to fit not only the job but your corporate culture, and when necessary letting go of those employees who are not working out. In her down-to-earth, practical and humorous manner, she will guide you through the pitfalls of human relations issues while advising you on how to stay on top with a solid HR plan.

Due to our limited seating capacity, you are encouraged to register promptly, and indicate which location you prefer.  Registrations will be accepted via email to:

Ann Lansinger at

 No registrations will be accepted after close of business on May 21, 2016

Webcast Locations

 TechFire ARL, 10000 New Hampshire Avenue, 2nd Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20903

 TechFire Southern Maryland, 10400 O’Donnell Place, #202, St. Charles, MD  20603

 TechFire at The Ground Floor – Harford County Office of Economic Development, 2021 Pulaski Hwy, Suite D, Havre de Grace, MD  21078

The Southern Maryland Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: an interview with two of our partners at Community Bank of the Chesapeake

3:51 pm

As part of a series of posts on the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, TechFire recently caught up with two of our service providers from Community Bank of the Chesapeake: Patrick Pierce, Senior Vice President and Senior Lender, Charles County and Aaron Fenwick, Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Loan Officer. We wanted to learn more about what entrepreneurs and small businesses need to know about, and can expect from, working with local community banks.

tf cbtc

Community Bank of the Chesapeake (CBTC, below) has a long history of serving the people of Southern Maryland and now, Fredericksburg. Started in 1950 as Tri-County Building and Loan, technology has aided the bank’s ability to reach further but hasn’t changed its heart and soul: a friends-and-neighbor’s approach to personal service, financial solutions and warm, meaningful relationships

TechFire: What makes a business an attractive investment option?

CBTC: First, we need to understand the industry. We’ll need to have a good feel for the management team’s capabilities and, especially if they are a startup, we’ll want to see their cash flow. Our job is to mitigate risk: both our risk as well as the business’s risk. The bottom line is that, to do mitigate risk, we need to understand the company’s goals and their ability to repay a loan.

TechFire: What do you look for in a business plan?

CBTC: We do expect to see a professionally crafted, complete business plan. It’s important for business owners to take the time and effort necessary to gather the right information and articulate it clearly. Of course, sometimes business owners come in who have never had the experience of putting together a business plan; we recognize this and want to help them be successful.  In this case, we would gladly put them in touch with partners like our local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) expert, Bill Hitte. We might also share the great resources available to help businesses on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website, such as their Create Your Own Business Plan on their Starting and Managing a business page.

Back to our role of helping businesses mitigate risk … we want businesses to acknowledge their risks. They might use a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis to do this or create “what if” scenarios that might include issues such as, “What if our cash flow projections were too high?” or “What if our primary supplier closes their business?” The bank wants to know that business owners have thought through these kinds of scenarios and have risk plans in place.

TechFire: If the plan seems primarily sound, what would keep you from extending a loan?

CBTC: The business plan is a roadmap that helps us see the business three to five years out, gives us an idea of who the management team is, and see projected cash flow three to five years out. But even with a sound business plan, there are issues that could keep us from extending a loan. Those might include an inability to keep a good credit score, a lack of collateral or capital, or a poor industry outlook. Some of those are in the business owners control and they should take steps to mitigate those potential challenges. It’s also important for us to see that the owner has “skin in the game,” that they have personally invested in their business. That tells us that they believe in themselves, in their team, and in their ability to create and run a viable business.

TechFire: What do you look for in the management team that aids in your decision-making?

CBTC: The business plan is a great place to communicate to us that the owner and management team have depth. We need to know that the owner knows how to run a business and has expertise in their industry. Sometimes, the owner doesn’t have business experience themselves. Or they have business management experience but not expertise in the industry. That’s okay, as long as they have a strong team and processes in place that will mitigate those challenges. They may have experience that indirectly relates to running the business; if so, we want to know how those transferrable skills will be applied to their business and how they’ll use that expertise to be successful.

TechFire: With such a wide variety of businesses approaching CBTC, how do you gauge the commercial viability of a value proposition?

CBTC: We’ve mentioned that we need to understand the industry, and of course, we can’t have the most up-to-date information on everything about every industry in our heads. We use tools like Hoovers that allow us to conduct in-depth research and gain the necessary industry insight to help us make a good decision. Understanding the industry helps us gauge the value the business brings to their customers.

We give business owners an opportunity to share with us how they add value for their customers. Our expectation is that they are able to clearly and concisely articulate their value proposition. That helps us get a feel for their ability to understand and communicate with their target market. It gives us a sense that they know their business inside and out – as they should.

TechFire: Under what circumstances might you extend a loan to a new business?

CBTC: Back to risk mitigation, we need to know that a business will be able to maintain their credit and will remain able to pay. While there aren’t hard and fast rules, because each business is different and each situation is different, there are three things we might look at for risk management:

  1. Cash flow: projected over three to five years but is it realistic? Has the business put thought into different risk scenarios and prepared for them?
  2. Personal income: does the owner have a source of income, either from a job, current cash flow in the business, or other investment income?
  3. Collateral: Is the business using collateral to acquire the loan? Is it sufficient?

It’s really important to remember that each situation varies and the risk that goes along with it varies as well. While we may want to discuss all three factors above, in some situations we may only need to understand two. We know that some small businesses show a loss in their cash flow projections in the first year, we understand that. But we need to see a transition and know they’re hitting milestones. It’s not unusual for us to work with a business, especially a startup, and monitor them annually, for example.

TechFire:  What do you expect to see in the Financial Plan?

CBTC: We view the business plan holistically; each part is important as it contributes to helping us understand at a strategic level. We want to see a well thought-out plan with a sufficient level of detail. We want to see that the owner fully understands every aspect of the business and how the business will impact the local economy. We want to see competition addressed and know that competitive differentiators have been addressed. We want to understand the business’s human resource plan, marketing plan, management team, advisors, etcetera. The financial plan needs to show how the business will generate revenue, projected out three to five years, month-by-month. We want to know about licensing fees, utility costs, rent, annual membership fees, and any unique expenses. With that level of detail, we can help the applicant ‘stress test’ their financials. For example, were they overconfident in revenue projections? Did they cover any costs necessary to mitigate previously identified risks? The point is, we want to help our businesses create reasonable and strong financial plans that will help them develop a strong business over the long haul.

TechFire: What else would you like entrepreneurs and small business owners to know?

CBTC: Do your research! Both on your business and on your lenders. Have conversations with bankers, interview several, ask your business associates about their experiences … the point is that each business is different with different needs. Sometimes a larger bank might be just fine for a business, but a small community bank like Community Bank of The Chesapeake has a little more flexibility and resources that are aimed at helping community members.

We feel it’s critical for us to participate in the local community, to attend events, to understand the local economy and to develop personal relationships. We all – the bank, our economic development department, our partners, and our local businesses – have a vested interest in the local economy so we do take the extra time to develop personal relationships. We know that everyone benefits when local businesses succeed – we see it happening all over the place in Southern Maryland and we’re happy to be part of that success.

To learn more about the resources TechFire provides, visit the TechFire Network website or contact Kim Mozingo.

To learn more about Community Bank of the Chesapeake, visit