Why Women Should Start a Business in Maryland and Even Baltimore

Maryland Business Statistics—Women-Owned Businesses Are Booming

Putting Money to Your Small Business
••• Rob Daly/Getty Images

Maryland is a great place for women entrepreneurs to set up shop. The state ranks second in the nation for having the highest percentage of women-owned firms—about 39.5 percent of all Maryland businesses. Maryland ranks eighth in the nation for the percentage of women-owned firms with paid employees as well—20.5 percent. 

The state can also boast a few other exciting entrepreneur-friendly statistics as well: 

  • It's eighth in the percentage of Asian-owned firms as a share of all firms at 7.9 percent, and it's fifth in the percentage of Asian-owned firms with paid employees at 11.9 percent. 
  • It's 13th in the percentage of Hispanic-owned firms as a share of all firms at 7 percent, and 11th in the percentage of Hispanic-owned firms with paid employees at 3.5 percent. 

Maryland's Big on Venture Capital Deals

Maryland ranked eighth among all states in the number of venture capital deals, and 15th in the dollar value of those deals. That translates to a total of 87 venture capital deals made in Maryland resulting in over $363 million in investment funding.

Don't Give Up on Baltimore

Despite sensationalized news stories in the media depicting the community struggles Baltimore has endured, the city has been ranked the second "hottest startup city" in the U.S. by Entrepreneur magazine. Popular Mechanics has ranked Baltimore the fifth "Best Startup City in America," and the Businesswoman Power City Index says it's the top-ranked city based on the number of women-owned businesses and the gender wage gap. 

There is more to Baltimore than what you see on the nightly news!

Getting Started

If you're planning to start a business in Maryland, you'll have to first register your business name. You'll must then register to pay taxes and obtain any necessary licenses and permits depending on the structure of your business and whether you intend to have employees.

  • Business Licensing InformationLicenses for many types of business can be obtained from your local Clerk of the Circuit Court. A license is generally required if you're operating a restaurant, if you're in retail sales, for laundry businesses, vending machine businesses and storage warehouses. But don't automatically assume that you don't need one just because your business doesn't fall into any of these categories. Check with the Maryland court system to be sure. . 
  • Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)An EIN functions something like a Social Security number for businesses. Unless you're planning to operate as a sole proprietor, you'll need one to file your business's taxes, and you'll probably need one to open a business bank account and other financial accounts as well. 
  • Tax Registration Information: The state's Comptroller website details tax information for Maryland business owners. You can complete Maryland's Combined Registration Application for taxes online to determine what taxes your business might be assessed.
  • Planning and Zoning Permits: To obtain information on local zoning and building requirements, contact the planning and zoning department in the county in which your business will be located. You can find your local planning and zoning department's contact information in the state's archives.
  • Corporations and Partnerships: You can find information and forms for forming a corporation, nonprofit organization, and/or a partnership on Maryland's Department of Taxation and Assessments website. Information is included about articles of incorporation, how to close a corporation, and accessing trade name registration forms.

Maryland's Small Business Administration Center

The Small Business Administration Center serving most of Maryland is:

Maryland District Office
City Crescent Building, 6th Floor
10 South Howard Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: (410) 962-6195

Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties are serviced by the SBA's Washington, D.C. District Office. For all other locations, reach out to the SBA in Baltimore for guidance, assistance and even loan information to get your business off the ground.