Cecil County Public Library Teaching Entrepreneurism to Teens with Start-Up Cecil

June 12th, 2017

Start-Up Cecil LogoTrying to keep your teens busy this summer? While your teen might be looking for a summer job, they might also dream about starting their own business. Two books that might be entrepreneurially inspiring are “Start It Up: The complete teen business guide to turning your passions into pay by Kenrya Rankin” and “Beyond the Lemonade Stand: starting small to make it BIG by Bill Rancic.”

For teens ages 11-17 that are ready for hands-on learning and advice, Cecil County Public Library is hosting Start-Up Cecil, a teen small business plan contest. This four part series will expose teens to the concept of entrepreneurship and what it takes to operate a small business. At the end final session, teens will pitch their plan to a judging panel at the business plan showcase with the hopes of winning cash prizes to invest in their business concept thanks to local sponsor, Columbia Bank. The sessions are planned for June 19, 26 and July 10 with the Showcase on July 17 at the Elkton Library. It is not mandatory to attend all sessions, but highly recommended.

Last year, after a talk by teen entrepreneur Shreyas Parab who owns Novel Tie, we had over 20 teens participate, and their innovative ideas inspired all who attended the showcase. Some of the ideas from last year included: a chore service for senior citizens, a lawn care service that uses goats, healthy cupcakes and a dinner theater.

If your teen is energized by Start-Up Cecil or can’t attend but is interested in becoming an entrepreneur, another local competition is the Diamond Challenge for High School Entrepreneurs through the University of Delaware. Submissions begin this September and entries come from students around the world.

We are so excited to see what ideas the teens come up with this year. To register for this program or to get more information, contact the Cecil County Public Library at 410-996-5600 ext. 481 or visit https://www.cecil.ebranch.info/teens/start-up-cecil/.

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Maryland’s Cottage Food Business Law: Make and Sell Food from a Home Kitchen

March 20th, 2017

As the Small Business Librarian at the Cecil County Public Library, I am frequently asked about making food at home and selling it. According to the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center, in 2012 Maryland established a Cottage Food Business Law. This law allows Maryland citizens to operate a home-based food business that does not exceed $25,000 in sales and is operated in a residential kitchen. Under this law, the business does not need a license for operation from the Health Department. The law defines “cottage food products” as a nonhazardous food sold at farmer’s markets or public events. Interested entrepreneurs do need to be aware that according to the law, there are certain requirements for the food label such as, (1) the name and address of the business; (2) the name, ingredients, and net weight or net volume of the product; (3) allergen information specified by federal labeling requirements; (4) if any nutritional claim is made, nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements; and (5) a printed statement that the product is made by a cottage food business that is not subject to Maryland’s food safety regulations. If you have questions about this, the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center is a great resource.

If you are thinking about operating a small business in your residential kitchen, consider contacting the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office in Cecil County at 410-996-5280. The Cooperative Extension Office in Maryland provides information and workshops on selling and processing food.

For general information on starting a small business of any kind, be sure to visit the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center (SBIC). The SBIC provides free information and assistance to local Cecil County entrepreneurs. I’ll meet with you in person and discuss how to formalize your business, write a business plan, research demographic and competitor information, and refer you to local organizations in the county that might help your business succeed.
Also, be sure to visit www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business and discover our business databases. Our Business Plans Database provides sample professional business plans covering all industries, including cottage food businesses. Books available on this topic include: “Running a Side Business: How to Create a Second Income” by Richard Stim, “Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen” by Lisa Kivirist, and “Start Your Own Specialty Food Business: Your Step-
By-Step Startup Guide to Success” by Cheryl Kimball.

If you are considering small business ownership, you may be interested in attending the upcoming “Small Business Accounting Workshop” at the Elkton Library on March 20 at 6:30pm. This free program will teach participants how to anticipate and plan for taxes, how to save time and money during the start-up phase, choosing the proper type of business entity, and small business accounting tips. To register for this program, or to make an appointment to discuss your business ideas, call 410-996-5600 ext. 481 or email sbic@ccplnet.org.

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