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Governor Hogan Announces 2019 Award of $9 Million in Tax Credits for Student Loan Debt

Office of the Governor

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Jan. 13, 2020)—Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Secretary Dr. James D. Fielder announced the awarding of nearly $9 million in tax credits for 9,600 Maryland residents with student loan debt.

“It is critical that we look for ways to help those in our state crippled by student loan debt,” Governor Hogan said. “This program helps Maryland taxpayers pay off student debt, while remaining in the workforce and having a positive impact on the state economy.”

“MHEC staff is proud to administer programs like this that support student success with less debt,” Secretary Fielder said. “Governor Hogan’s ongoing efforts to find solutions to the national student loan debt crisis is one more example of his unwavering commitment to make education a top priority of his administration.”

There were 9,600 applicants who were eligible for the Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit. The tax credits were divided into two groups of eligibility, including Maryland residents who attended a Maryland institution and Maryland residents who attended an out-of-state institution. There were 6,331 eligible applicants who attended in-state institutions and will each receive $1,000 in tax credits, while 3,269 eligible applicants who attended out-of-state institutions will each receive $813 each in tax credits.

Last year, MHEC awarded 9,484 Maryland residents the Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit with 5,238 applicants who attended an in-state institution receiving $1,000 each in tax credits and 4,246 applicants who attended an out-of-state institution receiving $883 each in tax credits.




Top Energy & Tech CEO and Equity Investor Launches MBA: Minority Business Access Podcast
Tech and Energy CEO, and Private Equity Investor, Mr. Solomon Ali, launches podcast to educate and empower people of color, and women, in business.

Full Scale Media

Get ready to earn your “M.B.A.” with Tech & Energy CEO and Private Equity Investor, Solomon Ali. Mr. Ali’s new podcast, MBA: Minority Business Access walks minority business owners and entrepreneurs through his tested, effective methods of circumventing what he calls “a slanted financial system towards people of color and other minorities,” to successfully raise funding and scale their businesses.

As a corporate executive, Solomon Ali, has served as CEO of the private equity company, Rainco Industries. Mr. Ali has generated $100 million in assets for his various companies and arranged more than $250 million in structured investment capital and financing. Companies established through Solomon’s efforts and expertise across tech and energy sectors have earned more than $118 million in gross sales revenue during this past fiscal year. Mr. Ali has held seats on the board of three African-American owned publicly traded companies as well as simultaneously holding officer positions at these companies. “That is monumental when you consider that out of approximately 8,000 publicly traded companies in the United States, less than twenty of those companies are African-American owned,” asserts Mr. Ali.

According to Solomon Ali, “There has traditionally been a large gap in business funding and business scalability for minority business owners.” He cites African-Americans and other minority groups as having less access to financial information and less access to the right funding that will enable them to scale their businesses and eventually sell or go public, should they choose to. His new podcast focuses on the solutions to change this dynamic.

The MBA: Minority Business Access podcast features interviews with successful entrepreneurs of color and with female entrepreneurs, and the proactive steps they’ve taken to successfully fund and scale their businesses. The podcast also includes valuable roundtable conversations and insights from Mr. Ali and his corporate team, detailing how he managed to grow his thriving eight figure financial portfolio of businesses, and how his expertise and advice applies to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The MBA Podcast is available for download across all podcast streaming services.


With over 28 years of business and finance experience, and a deep passion for helping disadvantaged and minority entrepreneurs and business owners bring their ideas and concepts to fruition, Solomon Ali has become a prominent voice in the area of helping businesses and entrepreneurs secure their intellectual property, raise funding, bring products to market and scale businesses. His team of consultants have collectively managed and successfully closed more than 140 mergers and acquisitions. As a corporate executive, Mr. Ali has served as Chief Executive Officer of the private equity company, Rainco Industries, arranging hundreds of millions of dollars in investment capital and financing. He currently consults with profitable business to assist them in raising capital to scale their businesses. In addition, Mr. Ali is CEO of NDR Energy Group, one of the largest minority owned energy companies in the United States; and he is the owner of multiple technology patents licensed exclusively through licensor, EyeTalk 365. He was just profiled as “Innovator of the Month” in Innovation & Tech Today Magazine (p. 20–21). Visit

The road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is fraught with challenges, especially with limited capital and resources. In this podcast, host Solomon Ali advises listeners on how to avoid common pitfalls, to stay, and thrive, in business. Business whiz Solomon Ali gives listeners the step-by-step guidance, inspiration, and encouragement to create a viable business plan, raise capital and scale a business. Each episode of MBA: Minority Business Access addresses areas of concern and opportunity for, both, new and established businesses: Corporation Set Up, Employee/Payroll Management, Business Credit and Capital Raises, Taxes and Insurance, Expansion, Increased Working Capital, Investments, Regulatory Issues, Insurance, Private vs Public structure and Exit Strategies for small business owners and their investors.


Women’s Business Center Grant Opportunity and News from the U.S. Small Business Administration
SBA Statement on Maryland Women’s Business Center Grant to Help Train Women Entrepreneurs.
Applications being accepted through February 16.

U.S. Small Business Administration

WASHINGTON (Jan. 16, 2020)—The U.S. Small Business Administration last week announced a Women’s Business Center (WBC) grant opportunity in the state of Maryland. This expansion is part of an agency priority to open more doors for women entrepreneurs and increase access to SBA resources in underserved communities by better connecting small businesses with SBA support services.

“I am pleased to announce the SBA is offering a new grant opportunity in the state of Maryland to provide funding for nonprofit organizations to start new WBCs, with an emphasis on socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. Women’s entrepreneurship is on the rise, and we want to make sure they have access to the counseling and training they need to create healthy, sustainable businesses that create more American jobs.”

The total award amount is $75,000 each for up to two WBCs in Maryland. Applications will be accepted on and all applications for Funding Opportunity Announcement No. OWBO-2020-01 must be submitted online by the closing date of February 16, 2020.

“It’s great to see Administrator Carranza taking swift and decisive action on her promise during the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings to support underserved communities such as women business owners.” SBA Mid-Atlantic acting Regional Administrator Steve Bulger added, “Through this grant, the SBA will be able to provide even more of the tools necessary for women entrepreneurs to have a greater impact in Maryland.”

Eligible applicants for the grant must be private, nonprofit organizations with 501(c) tax-exempt status from the U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service and must provide services in the state of Maryland. This may include universities, foundations, chambers of commerce, or economic development institutions, providing entrepreneurial development services to socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) and their auxiliary entities as well as other organizations meeting the WBC program eligibility criteria and serving socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs are also encouraged to apply.

Interested applicants must register and receive a certificate from as part of the grant application process. Questions about the WBC funding opportunity can be directed to the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) at


New Administrator Pledges More Opportunities for Underserved Jovita Carranza Received Bipartisan Support During Confirmation Hearings

WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2020)—Jovita Carranza was sworn in last week as the 26th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). She leads the only federal agency exclusively dedicated to assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting, growing, and expanding their businesses and providing targeted recovery support in declared disasters. This is Carranza’s second tenure at the SBA, having served in the George W. Bush Administration as Deputy Administrator from 2006–2009. President Trump nominated Administrator Carranza to lead the SBA while she was serving as the 44th Treasurer of the United States. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 88-5.

“I want to thank the President for his confidence in me to be an advocate in the Cabinet for our country’s 30 million small businesses, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to the U.S. Senate for confirming me in a bipartisan fashion,” Carranza said. “I look forward to helping elevate female entrepreneurs and our military veterans, expanding access to SBA resources among entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities, and continuing to prioritize disaster relief. I would also like to thank Linda McMahon for her leadership at the SBA, and the dedicated professionals at the Agency during this transition.”

Carranza’s experience includes a 30-year career with United Parcel Service, where she began as an hourly dock worker, rose to oversee operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and ultimately retired as the highest-ranking Latina in the company’s history.

“The confirmation of Jovita Carranza to lead the SBA illustrates President Trump’s commitment to small business,” said SBA acting Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Steve Bulger. “She is the embodiment of the American Dream and knows first-hand that entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity. We’re excited to welcome her back to lead our agency in helping entrepreneurs start, grow and expand.”

In testimony on December 11, 2019, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Administrator Carranza discussed her hands-on experience in the private sector, public service and the life-changing potential of entrepreneurship, and pledged to preside over an Agency focused on creating more opportunities for women and historically underrepresented entrepreneurs while ensuring the SBA remains prepared to assist displaced homeowners and small businesses impacted by disaster.

Administrator Carranza earned her MBA from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and received executive, governance, management and financial training at the INSEAD Business School in Paris, France; Michigan State University; and the University of Chicago.


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