Blog: Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber Pathways to Business Launches Succssfully

photo of GGCC Chambers Marilyn Balcombe, and Stephen McDow, and Kumba Brewah

GGCC Chambers Marilyn Balcombe, and Stephen McDow, and Kumba Brewah

The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce’s (GGCC) grant program Pathways to Business Success—designed to support women and minority entrepreneurs take it to the next level—successfully launched in January.

The program was made possible through an economic development grant from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. The education workshops are in partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County and the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC).

Through strategic workshops, business resource groups, networking events and a free one-year Chamber membership, participants are gaining new skills and building relationships to increase the value of their business.

“The Chamber is excited to provide women and minority businesses an opportunity to gain best practices and strategies; connect with other businesses currently sharing similar experiences; and engage the wider business community,” said Stephen McDow, GGCC Director of Membership.

There are a total of 36 entrepreneurs enrolled in the program based on what stage they are in. We have one track for business owners who are just starting out and another for new business owners who are ready to expand.

The new business track is comprised of 19 businesses. Martha P. Jimenez, MBA, Sr. Supervising Business Consultant at MWBC, is facilitating this track through a three-part series focusing on creating a business plan, financial foundations; and marketing. These sessions also are accompanied by facilitated work groups.

Carmen Larsen with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County leads the emerging business track. There are 17 businesses enrolled in this program and entrepreneurs are learning human resources, managing cash flow; and how to generate leads and successfully promote their business.

“Positively hiring and engaging your employees, and having sound operations is critical to ensuring a business is successful,” said Colette Releford, Senior Agent, Redfin Real Estate. “The Pathways Program will ensure these entrepreneurs understand their employees are the most important client and how they are treated can be the difference in a successful or unsuccessful business.”

The sessions—for both tracks are recorded and are available to be viewed on the Chamber’s YouTube page at

The GGCC is active in providing business-to-business networking opportunities throughout the year: a collective voice in local, regional, and state legislative affairs, professional development opportunities and other services that enhance the business environment.

The GGCC is located at 910 Clopper Road, Suite 205N, Gaithersburg, MD. To learn more about the GGCC visit us at Find us! Facebook: | Twitter: @GGCCNEWS | Instagram: gburggermantownchamber

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