MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at email@example.com.
Imagine your beachside vacation home is just a stone’s throw from the company office. This “best of both worlds” lifestyle is a reality for many business owners in Worcester County, and county officials say it’s one of many reasons to investigate living and working in the area.
Worcester County, Maryland’s easternmost county, includes the State’s entire Atlantic coast. While it is overwhelmingly rural, it contains Ocean City, which becomes the State’s second most populated urban area during summer months.
“Because so many Marylanders are already familiar with Ocean City and own real estate here, one of our goals is to help entrepreneurs and employers build or relocate their businesses throughout the county,” said Worcester County Economic Development Director William Badger, Jr.
According to Badger, Worcester County’s family-friendly living conditions, central location, enterprise zones and easy access to funding and assistance are major draws for economic activity.
From bustling Ocean City to picturesque Berlin (recently voted America’s coolest small town), Worcester County offers a variety of cultural attractions, affordable housing and the second lowest property tax rate in the State, Badger said. The county also features the highest concentration of Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence awards, with nine out of 12 eligible public schools honored.
The county provides a central location between three major economic centers. Within roughly two and a half hours, one can drive from Worcester County to Baltimore City, Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia.
Maryland Enterprise zones in Snow Hill, Pokomoke City and Berlin are working to foster economic activity through income tax credits. The entire county is also a Historically Underutilized Business Zones, which means businesses can gain preferential access to federal contracts. New startups are also welcome at the Worcester County Small Business Incubator, located in Pocomoke City, with low cost rent and mentoring from experts available.
Recently, Worcester County small businesses have also taken advantage of low interest VOLT Fund loans, the State-sponsored Video Lottery Terminal, Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund. The loan program is funded through profits earned by Maryland casinos, with 50 percent of the funding allocated toward small, minority and women-owned businesses within 10 miles of a Maryland casino. The program includes Ocean Downs in Berlin.
Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Worcester County? Visit Worcester County Economic Development here.