State funds help companies in health and wellness industry thrive

05/01/2023| Maggie Whitescarver

State funds help companies in health and wellness industry thrive

05/01/2023 | Maggie Whitescarver

Consumer spending on health and wellness is booming. In fact, McKinsey estimates  that more than $450 billion is spent on wellness products and services annually in the U.S., and that this number will increase about five percent per year. It's not just big retailers getting in on the action—Maryland small businesses are seeing opportunities in this market, and thanks to state funding, some of them are able to find their niche and make their dreams come true.

A few companies in this industry recently received support from the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Account , also known as the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Fund, which assists businesses across the state by utilizing proceeds from slots. VLT works by funding different programs where each regional fund manager oversees the distribution of the video lottery terminal fund to eligible businesses. There are currently nine managers handling VLT funds, which can be found here .

VLT provides businesses the necessary funds to assist with working capital, making upgrades, retaining or hiring additional employees, and generally growing their businesses. In recent months, two woman-owned beauty and health companies have been assisted through the program.

Skinlogic  is a boutique medical spa in Severna Park. Thanks to the state’s funding deployed to the Anne Arundel County Economic Development VOLT Fund , Skinlogic’s spa opened in late 2022 and offers a wide variety of services to the public.

“With the VOLT loan funds, I was able to pay off an existing loan as well as pay for the renovation of my new brick and mortar,” said Meredith Baker, founder of Skinlogic. “I was previously a home office, and the ability to transform a business office into exactly what I had pictured for Skinlogic has been absolutely amazing.”

Nourishing Journey  is a wellness center and organic cafe that offers a variety of holistic health services, such as acupuncture and infrared saunas, as well as classes and events every month that focus on personal growth and healing. With help from VLT funding, the wellness center was able to expand its business by adding a cafe element with delicious coffees, teas, Kombuchas, and other organic food and beverage options.

Nourishing Journey’s funding was received from Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Catalyst Loan program .

“We are thrilled to have worked with the Howard County Economic Development Authority,” said Jennifer Palmer, founder of Nourishing Journey. “They really helped our business pivot and move forward in a positive direction during a time of uncertainty. They were wonderful to work with from start to finish.”

These are just two of the businesses who have taken advantage of the VLT fund in recent years. According to a fiscal year 2022 report, more than 1,000 transactions worth $108 million have taken place since the VLT program began, with several dozen approvals happening last year. From food services and manufacturing, to health care services and retail, these approved businesses are projected to create more than 4,600 jobs in the state.

For more information on the Maryland Video Lottery Terminal Fund, visit our website and find contact information for the fund manager in your area.

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