As a nonprofit that provides loans for small businesses, the Business Finance Group has a lot in common with the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc., which operates as a small-business incubator.
Fortunately for FITCI, the two groups also share Helen Propheter, the director of Frederick County’s Office of Economic Development.
“I wouldn’t have known about FITCI if it wasn’t for Helen,” said Richard G. Frank, the president of BFG, speaking at FITCI’s first floor office in the Root Building on North Market Street on Friday afternoon, where the incubator accepted a $50,000 donation from the nonprofit.
A co-chair for FITCI’s launch and connections team, Propheter also serves on the board of directors for BFG, so when the nonprofit loan group found itself with extra funding, Propheter was quick to point Frank in FITCI’s direction.
“From time to time, we have excess money and we want to redeploy that to assist economic development and job creation, which is our overall mission,” Frank said of the donation, adding that he was happy to see the funds go toward an organization that shares its goals in so many ways.
For its part, FITCI was more than happy to receive the financial boost, which will be used to cover operating expenses and will also help with the incubator’s efforts to raise funds for a $6 million biotech center for its many lab-based clients, said FITCI CEO Kathie Callahan Brady.
“Our biotech center was an office building at one point that was converted 15 years ago, so it’s kind of old and outdated, and we’ve tripled the number of our clients from when we started three and a half years ago, we started with 15 clients, we’ve got 52 clients now. … We need more labs,” Brady said at Friday’s event.
To celebrate the donation, U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin joined several local public officials at the Root Building, along with Mayor Michael O’Connor, County Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Frederick Alderman Roger Wilson.
Always thinking of helping smaller businesses, Brady said she was just as excited to see the Business Finance Group beginning to target the Frederick area, where she believes such a nonprofit could bring a lot of support to fledgling enterprises and entrepreneurs.
“So this gift does a couple of things, I mean, for FITCI is does quite a bit, but it also does quite a bit for the community because it allows [BFG] to come into the Frederick community and they haven’t really done that much up here in this area prior to this,” Brady said.