Prince George's County Tech News


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Prince Georges County – Rent The Runway Takes Fashion Mobile

Subject: Prince George’s County – Rent The Runway Takes Fashion Mobile

Bloomberg West talked to the CEO of Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway allows women to rent high end clothes that they could only dream of wearing because of their exorbitant cost. This company caters to young professional women that are pushing the entrepreneur envelope and moving up the corporate latter. They make clothes available to women to rent for occasions such as date night and formal affairs. 

I would love a Prince George’s County designer, entrepreneur, and techie to see this model and use it to build their business. I would also like to see them partner and collaborate with other businesses for events that will cross promote all businesses. As local independent businesses, you must avoid the "silo effect" and think outside of the box to create buzz and open your product or service up to another audience that you never thought could use it. Talk to your business neighbors and see how you can share costs and cross promote even if you have dissimilar products or services. Give your brand a chance to capitalize off another brand and their audience.

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- Rent The Runway CEO and Co-Founder Jennifer Hyman discusses the company’s growth on Bloomberg Television's “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Prince Georges County – Did You Know Prince George’s Community College Had a TeamBuilders Academy? Neither Did Geoff Pohanka

Subject: Prince George’s County – Did You Know Prince George’s Community College Had a TeamBuilders Academy? Neither Did Geoff Pohanka

Collaboration is the key and this testimonial for the TeamBuilders Academy (TBA) says it all:

"I have been thoroughly impressed by the interns' extensive knowledge of the construction industry. Their training as a result of the Team Builders Academy has paid dividends as the interns are able to recommend and execute efficient methods for the completion of construction projects for the Culinary Center."

-Chef Ed Whitfield,
Culinary Center Program Coordinator

Q: Have you heard of the information technology construction sector?

Q: Do you know what it means to be Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) certified?

TeamBuilders Academy is a program at Prince George’s Community College’s Westphalia Training Center in Upper Marlboro. It was the brainchild of former Prince George’s County Councilmember Tony Knotts who recognized a need for specialized training programs in his community. The program includes different fields such as automotive repair, construction, and information technology (IT). It features scholarships and on the job training (OJT) internships.

Listen To Education Internet Radio Stations with Transforming Lives0 on BlogTalkRadio

Transforming Lives on BlogTalkRadio: Dr. Deidra Hill Interviews TeamBuilders Academy Program Director Thomisha Duru

Pres. Barack Obama Visits Prince George’s Community College: TeamBuilders Academy Mentioned (starts at 6 min 20 sec)

President Obama Visits Prince George's Community College

I was exposed to this innovative program by Quianne Perrin of FLYCANDY. She organized and helped produce the video featuring Geoff Pohanka who says he did not know about the TeamBuilders Academy. Bringing this program to the light of someone like Geoff Pohanka, President of the Pohanka Automotive Group, will ensure there is an established funnel from training to securing a job. A program like this is a win-win for quality employers and Prince George’s County residents that have in-demand, job-readiness skills and want to be gainfully employed.

Pohanka Team Builders Visit Westphalia Training Center

If you listen and watch the video below, it is amazing how many skills this program teaches. The important thing is the training is hands-on and not just book theory. This is the key! Employers want people that have experience, exposure, and can step into the job with at least a basic understanding of what to do. If you fast forward to 3 min 46 sec in the video, The Team Builders Academy is described in detail by Program Director Thomisha Duru. This seems to be an amazing and well-rounded program the County and school have assembled. I invite all residents of Prince George’s County to check it out and take advantage of the resources it provides. 

PGCC Westphalia Training Center - TeamBuilders Academy Spring 2011 

Contact Team Builder Academy via E-mail:

Phone: 301-322-0964

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prince Georges County – N. Carolina School Teacher, Students, Colleges, and Entrepreneur Create And Sell Biofuel

Subject: Prince George’s County – N. Carolina School Teacher, Students, Colleges, and Entrepreneur Create And Sell Biofuel

Link to stories and pictures for the Applied Science and Math Program:

I heard this story as I was driving along I-95 in North Carolina on an early Sunday morning. I was listening to the Community Affairs shows that radio stations are federally mandated to play. An entrepreneur was telling how she was once a 7th grade public school teacher in Polk County North Carolina and a student of hers did a sustainability project using the cooking oil from restaurants and the school cafeteria to produce biofuel.

Warhorse Solutions: Oil to Soap and Polk Co. High School Biofuels

Another teacher, Kim Mirisola, turned this innovative venture of hands on science and math into an Applied Science curriculum for local schools. The biofuel that is produced is used to run the schools official vehicles. Tawana Weicker, CEO of Warhorse Solutions, figured she ought to turn this into a business and sell the biofuel. Not only does Tawana’s company sell biofuel but she has created several other interesting products from the glycerin produced by biofuel companies.

Incorporating students into the program for teaching purposes ranges from middle school through college. Appalachian State University and Clemson University students also participate in this curriculum and venture. The great thing is that the U.S. Navy is currently using and experimenting with biofuels. Since they are heavily invested in biofuels, the Navy is recruiting Polk County students that studied biofuels right out of high school. 

I am hoping that writing a post on this will spur Prince George’s County entrepreneurs and creative public school teachers with lofty goals for students to collaborate and develop a program like this at one or multiple schools in the County. It falls right in line with the big push for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM). 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Prince Georges County – Kenyan Tech Guy’s Thinking and Passion To Transform His Community Is Amazing

Subject: Prince George’s County – Kenyan Tech Guy’s Thinking and Passion To Transform His Community Is Amazing!

Link to CNN’s African Voices Interview with Uyi Stewart:

Uyi Stewart’s vision and understanding of what can be done when people collaborate is amazing. He is asking the educated people of his country and other countries within the continent of Africa to look at their problems from a technological perspective to solve them. He is also asking ex-pats to return home to assist in this effort.

Although I am not a tech star like Stewart, I feel the same way about Prince George’s County. With the high numbers of educated people in this county, we can solve local problems using technology and common sense. I think people simply need to take initiative and collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

Some Highlights in the videos:
-Uyi Stewart is the Chief Scientist of IBM's Research Lab
-Africa can show the world what "Big Data" can do
-Tech hubs - Africans create apps
-Think problem centric - What problem am I trying to solve? In the end, who is going to use it?

'The winds of change are massive!' Tech innovator calls African diaspora to come back and make a difference

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Prince Georges County – Gap Funding For Small Businesses and Non-Profits That Aid In Old Neighborhood Revitalization

Subject: Prince George’s County – Gap Funding For Small Businesses and Non-Profits That Aid In Old Neighborhood Revitalization

I saw this information posted on the Prince George’s County EDC website.


It may help you start a business or revitalize a business.

Fact Sheet

The Neighborhood Business Works program (NBW) provides a revitalization resource to help stimulate investment in Maryland’s older communities.  The NBW loans provide flexible gap financing to small businesses locating or expanding in locally designated neighborhood revitalization areas throughout the State.

·         Maryland-based small businesses (small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration)
·         Nonprofit organizations whose activities contribute to a broader revitalization effort and whose projects are intended to promote investment in commercial districts or town centers
            Note:  Local governments are not eligible applicants

·         $25,000 - $500,000
·         Each project assessed for financial need, up to 50 percent of total project cost (Refinancing will not be considered part of the project cost.)

·         Retail businesses, including franchises
·         Manufacturing businesses
·         Service-related businesses
·         Mixed-use projects, consisting of a commercial or retail use at street level and no more than 12 residential units.  Note:  Some restrictions apply (see the General Restrictions section).

·         Market/planning/feasibility studies
·         Real estate acquisition
·         New construction or rehabilitation
·         Leasehold improvements
·         Machinery and equipment
·         Working capital (when part of total project cost)
·         Certain other costs associated with opening or expanding a small business

1.     A Minority Business Enterprise Plan is required for those projects where NBWP funds will exceed $250,000 for construction or rehabilitation.
2.     Construction projects are reviewed by this Department’s offices of Maryland Historical Trust and Codes Administration prior to funding

·         Interest rate is below market, based on underwriter’s analysis
·         Loan term up to 15 years, depending on loan size and underwriting
·         Minimum 5 percent applicant capital cash contribution is required (based on total project cost)
·         Personal guarantees and collateral are required
·         No prepayment penalties

·         Loan terms cannot exceed 10 years.
·         Loan proceeds must be used for projects located in Maryland.
·         Points charged by the lender cannot exceed 1% of the loan amount.
·         A loan may not be used for the furtherance of sectarian or religious purposes or instruction

Text Box: The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) pledges to foster the letter and spirit of the law for achieving equal housing opportunity in Maryland

·         Project viability and potential
·         Impact of the project on its neighborhood
·         Significant exterior improvements
·         First floor commercial or retail space use which generates street level activity
·         Improvements to a vacant/underutilized building or site
·         Introduction of needed goods or services to a neighborhood
·         Creation of new jobs
·         Readiness to proceed

Priority is given to projects that strengthen neighborhood commercial districts and are part of a greater revitalization strategy.  The following types of projects and activities will not be considered for NBW financing:
·         Speculative developments (All properties must be pre-leased for a minimum of 51% of the leasable space prior to loan closing.)
·         Refinancing
·         Residential or transient living facilities (other than mixed-use projects described in Eligible Projects section), e.g., multifamily or single-family housing developments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, crisis care centers, group homes, transitional housing, and homeless shelters
·         Facilities such as community halls, fire stations, hospitals, colleges, or universities
·         Adult bookstores, adult video shops, other adult entertainment facilities, gambling facilities, gun shops, liquor stores, massage parlors, pawn shops, tanning salons, or tattoo parlors. 

A complete NBW loan application consisting of the items on the Required Documentation Checklist in the application package must be submitted before a project can be fully processed.  If the application for funds is approved, additional documentation will be necessary to close the loan

Michael J. Haloskey III
Director, Business Lending Programs
Phone:  410-514-7237    Email:  
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program
100 Community Place, Crownsville MD 21032
Phone:  410-514-7237    Fax:  410-514-7925
MD Relay for the Deaf:  1-800-735-2258

As part of Maryland’s continuing efforts to provide successful Welfare-to-Work opportunities, the Department of Housing and Community Development encourages Neighborhood Business Development Program applicants to make jobs available to Temporary Cash Assistance recipients.  For further information on how to reach these resources, please contact the Department of Human Resources, Office of Work Opportunities at 410-767-7976 or the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Office of Employment Training at 410-767-2800 or the Maryland Job Service at 410-767-3416.

Martin O’Malley, Governor    Anthony G. Brown, Lt. Governor           Raymond A. Skinner, Secretary      Clarence J. Snuggs, Deputy Secretary                                              

Maryland also maintains a job bank on the internet at