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Are You Good at What You Do?

Maryland's Small Business Conversations @ The Eubie Blake Cultural Center


That's what Jimmy Rhee, Special Secretary of Maryland's Office of Small, Minority and Business Affairs asked a room full of attendees last Tuesday at the Maryland Business Conversations: State Resources event held at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, Maryland. The empowering event was sponsored and organized by Read Street Association President, Marcia Shrophire, David Skinner, Baltimore County's Department of Planning and Tonya Richard, of C.

Major Properties LLC.


Mr. Rhee was invited as the guest speaker. The Invited guests included aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses owners including Founder and CEO of Aquaryus Entertainment, Dion Floyd, Tracy Stevens of StrayInk LLC and Ms. Lynn of Aroma Cleaning Services Company. The attendees were introduced and were able to briefly speak about their businesses.

A networking and question and answer session was available.


He was appointed Special Secretary of the Governor's Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs state's primary advocate for small business community by Governor Larry Hogan and began service to the State of Maryland in January 2015. He connects small businesses, including those owned by minorities and women, with resources that help them compete in the private, public and global markets.


As a member of the governor's cabinet on economic development issues, Rhee acts as a key advisor to the administration on issues affecting Maryland's 580,00 small businesses. He has direct oversight of the Small Business Reserve (SBR), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and veterans procurement programs, sets contracting goals, establishes best practices, and monitors their implementation across 70 state agencies including universities, utilities, casinos, etc. Both SBR and MBE programs are considered a national gold standard for providing management and technical assistance and contracting opportunities to small businesses.


In addition, Rhee serves as Maryland's liaison to a wide array of business organizations on economic development initiatives and issues ranging from offshore wind to rural connectivity, expanding opportunity for small business community. In 2017, Maryland's rate of growth ranked #1 among the Mid-Atlantic States, and its ranking improved from 49th to 3rd among 50 states on entrepreneurial business growth. In 2018, Maryland ranked #1 in the U.S. for minority and women business formation and ownership.


Rhee's public service includes extensive international trade and investment activities as the Assistant Secretary of Virginia Department of Commerce and Trade 2010-13. He recruited international companies and facilitated national export initiative and year of the entrepreneur program in conjunction with the White House initiative Startup America. During his tenure, Forbes and CNBC ranked Virginia as America's top state for four straight years.


Rhee is active in the community, serving as a board member on numerous professional and civic organizations. He is a recipient of numerous awards from professiona organizations and industry leaders including the 2011 Korean Presidential Medal as an Outstanding Korean American in the field of Economic Development.


Mr. Rhee closed his evening address by sharing three essential factors that small business owners should consider before beginning their entrepreneurial pursuit:


1. Am I really good at what I do?

2. Can I command a price?

3. Do I know the laws and have the certifications that govern my state?


Thank you Mr. Rhee for your transparency. It was truly appreciated.


Many thanks to Eubie Blake Cultural Center Board of Directors Chair, Derrick Price and Consulting Artist Director, Kier Johnson for the warm and rich welcome.







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