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Danette Nguyen chosen for the Leadership Maryland Emerging Leader Program inaugural class

Maryland Women’s Business Center Managing Director one of 40 selected to participate in Leadership Maryland’s new six-month professional development program

Easton, Md., Apr. 2, 2024 – Leadership Maryland announced today that Danette Nguyen, Managing Director of Maryland Women’s Business Center  has been chosen to participate in their statewide professional development program as a member of the new Emerging Leader Program’s Class of 2024.

Nguyen is one of 40 individuals chosen for the Leadership Maryland Emerging Leader Program’s first class, who will complete the six-month, hands-on learning program focused on leadership development. The program will run from June to November, consisting of monthly day-long sessions that will include both interactive training led by a facilitator and panel discussions featuring leaders from across the state as guest speakers. The program’s curriculum offers a holistic approach to leadership development, designed to help each applicant increase their self-awareness and gain behaviors, skills, and tools to become more adaptive, inclusive, strategic, and impactful leaders.

“We are excited to announce the very first Emerging Leader class and welcome these motivated and forward-thinking individuals to our new program,” said David Fike ’16 (LM) president and CEO, Leadership Maryland. “This year’s class selection process was highly competitive, and after careful review of the applications, I am thrilled to share that the 40 members of the Class of 2024 represent a dynamic cross-section of ambitious and promising rising leaders. The knowledge, experience, and connections they will gain in our program will prepare them to become more adaptive and impactful leaders in their careers and communities.”

Leadership Maryland’s Emerging Leader Program is open to individuals who are advancing in their careers, are actively involved in their communities, and desire to become stronger leaders in both areas. Ideal Leadership Maryland members have a desire to learn more about Maryland’s most critical issues and a personal commitment to be a force for positive change in their organizations, their communities, and their state. For more information about Leadership Maryland, please visit leadershipmd.org, call 410-841-2101 or email info@leadershipmd.org.

About Maryland Women’s Business Center

 Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) works with women entrepreneurs and small businesses across Maryland’s Capital Region to help them to start, sustain, and grow their businesses. Through workshops, individual counseling, facilitated peer group support, special resources, and access to capital, MWBC annually helps more than 1,500 women gain the skills, connections, and confidence necessary to navigate entrepreneurship. Learn more at https://marylandwbc.org/


About Leadership Maryland

Leadership Maryland is a statewide nonprofit offering professional development programs dedicated to building a better Maryland by harnessing the strength of its business and community leaders. Established in 1992, Leadership Maryland’s Executive Program selects as many as 52 diverse and accomplished senior-level leaders from Maryland’s public and private sectors each year to come together as a class for an eight-month learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues. And new in 2024, Leadership Maryland’s Emerging Leader Program brings together a class of the state’s rising stars and gives them the skills and tools they need to advance in their careers. With an alumni network comprised of leaders from all industries and regions of the state, Leadership Maryland has established thousands of Marylanders on their career leadership path, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to influence positive change. To learn more, visit leadershipmd.org.  


Maryland Women’s Business Center featured in El Tiempo Latino newspaper

El Tiempo Latino is the largest Spanish-speaking newspaper in the DMV

El Tiempo Latino, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the Washington D.C. metro area, has highlighted the Maryland Women’s Business Center’s (MWBC) mission, impact and commitment to empowering women-owned businesses in a February 2024 article. 

Martha Jimenez, MWBC Program Manager for Montgomery County and Francisco Cartagena, MWBC Program Manager for Prince George’s County, spoke with El Tiempo Latino about the organization’s goal to foster entrepreneurship and business growth among business owners from underserved communities, including Latino business owners.  

MWBC's digital article as seen on El Tiempo Latino website (accessed March 4, 2024)

El Tiempo Latino notes: Aunque la organización se centra en las mujeres, por las barreras que existen y la desigualdad de oportunidades, está abierto a la comunidad en general y los latinos son clave/ Even though the organization’s focus is on women because of existing barriers and inequality of opportunities, [MWBC] is open to everyone, and Latinos are a key part.”  

Read the full article MWBC feature in El Tiempo Latino: Maryland Women’s Business Center. Eliminando barreras (eltiempolatino.com)  


Governor Moore Announces $10 Million for Small Business Grants to Strengthen Local Economies Across Maryland

"Together, we will continue to make Maryland more competitive by moving in concert with entrepreneurs and small businesses – not in conflict with them.”

Annapolis, MD, Feb. 21, 2024 – Governor Wes Moore today announced $10 million for small business and community development grants through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Project Restore 2.0 and Business Boost grant programs. The funding will activate vacant spaces in business corridors, support small businesses with start up or expansion funds, create jobs, and increase local economic activity—all to make Maryland more competitive.

“When storefronts close down, our entire state feels it. Now is the time to work in partnership with the private sector to revitalize our business districts, and that’s what this grant funding is about,” said Gov. Moore. Together, we will continue to make Maryland more competitive by moving in concert with entrepreneurs and small businesses – not in conflict with them.”

Project Restore 2.0 will provide $8 million to designated Main Streets, Arts and Entertainment Districts and other economic development organizations in a designated Sustainable Community. Grants of up to $300,000 per applicant will go to organizations that have identified priority vacant storefronts or buildings in local business districts. Those organizations would then sub-grant the funding to businesses for rental assistance, renovation and equipment to activate those vacant spaces. Businesses that receive sub-granted funds will have until December 2025 to open and be operational.

Business Boost is launching its first round of grant funding with $2 million that will be awarded directly to eligible small business owners in amounts between $20,000 and $50,000. The businesses must be new or expanding and located in designated Sustainable Communities. Preference will be given to businesses that are home-based and seeking their first commercial location, are designated as a Minority Business Enterprise, that are innovative, focused on regional strengths to grow local economies, or leverage partnerships between school districts or other education institutions in Maryland.

“By strengthening the successful Project Restore grants to fill storefronts on Maryland main streets and launching Business Boost, we are building on what we know to be the best way to help grow Maryland communities’ economies: from the center out, empowering locally-owned businesses, and bringing life back to vacant storefronts,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day. “These grants are just the beginning of the department’s renewed efforts to double down on the hearts of our cities and towns, maximizing the positive impact of our funding to create lovable places and help businesses choose to set up shop in Maryland.”

Applications will open on March 13 for small business owners to apply through Business Boost and for economic development organizations to apply through Project Restore 2.0. For more information on either grant opportunity, go to https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Business/Pages/Small-Business-Grants.aspx.

Link to press release: https://governor.maryland.gov/news/press/pages/governor-moore-announces-10-million-for-small-business-grants-to-strengthen-local-economies-across-maryland.aspx

Business Spotlight: Snowden Funeral Home

George R. Snowden, Jr. , Owner of Snowden Funeral Home

“A Legacy of Celebrating Life”

Could you share the origin and history of Snowden Funeral Home?

Snowden Funeral Home was established over one hundred years ago and has been operated by the Snowden family through four generations. The founder of the firm, George Russell Snowden, handled his first funeral service in 1909 in Howard County, Maryland. After graduating from the Hennard School of Embalming in New York City, he advertised that he was open for business. His hearse was a spectacle to see riding through the county, being drawn by four beautiful white horses. In 1926, Snowden Funeral Home established its Rockville location at North Washington Street. 

Because of ill health, Mr. Snowden turned the business over to his son, Robert L. Snowden, in 1936. Having worked with his father, from meager beginnings, Robert L. had to borrow money and equipment to maintain a properly equipped funeral home. In 1947, Robert L.’s wife, Alma P. Snowden, became a licensed Maryland funeral director and worked side by side with her husband Robert. Her active participation in funeral service ended when she retired in 1971. 

 The funeral home on North Washington Street has since undergone changes to its original structure. In 1947, the original wood structure was moved from its foundation, so that business was not interrupted, while a new structure was built. In 1947 a new brick building for the funeral home was built and an adjoining property was added to expand the business. 

 In 1974, Robert L. Snowden retired and turned the funeral business over to his son, George R. Snowden, Sr., and daughter, Irene Snowden Curry. After the passing of their father in 1979, George and Irene made it their mission to exemplify the same passion and concern for bereaved families which they learned from their parents. Today the Snowden family’s legacy of celebrating life is managed and operated by the leadership of George R. Snowden, Jr. 

How has your business adapted its services and practices over time while maintaining a connection to historical roots?

Although a lot of things have changed since the establishment of Snowden Funeral Home, such as using horse drawn hearse, having wakes at the residence of decease, and meticulously hand carving outer burial containers. What has not changed is our resolve to serve every family that God entrusts us to care for at life’s only inevitable stage.  
Today the Snowden family’s legacy of celebrating life is managed and operated by the leadership of George R. Snowden, Jr. In 2009 George R. Jr. along with his wife Dia H. Snowden took over the helm as the fourth generation, overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations of the funeral home.   

What makes Snowden Funeral Home unique?

Aside from being the only African American funeral home in Montgomery County, Snowden Funeral Home embodies its motto ‘Personal caring service.’  

It is the hope of the Snowden Family that the Funeral Home continues to operate as a family business in the generations to come, and to serve the people of the area with dignity and pride. The Snowden family exemplifies a family with deep roots of strength and unity. 

Are there any community events or initiatives that Snowden Funeral Home has been/will be involved in?

Through the years, the Snowden Family has been generous in their participation and collaboration with churches, community events as well as many charitable organizations. Snowden Funeral Home supports sports teams in the City of Rockville, donates to scholarship funds of many organizations in the County, contributes to many community promoted events and sponsors a back-to-school, Believe to Succeed, backpack campaign to help our youth start the school year off needed school supplies.  

What advice would give to new businesses aiming to become long-standing within the community?

First and foremost, having a heart of service is paramount to maintaining good relationships with others. Caring about their needs and making an effort to ensure that you leave an impression of making someone feel important and cared for. 

About Snowden Funneral Home

Founded by George Russell Snowden, Snowden Funeral Home P.A. has been family-owned and operated since the early 1900’s. Throughout four generations, Snowden Funeral Home continues to provide premier professional services to families at its Rockville location since 1926. Learn more at https://www.snowdencares.com/