Helping rural businesses prosper.

Rural Business Initiative

Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBI2) assists start up and small technology-based businesses in the rural areas of Maryland to advance the company to a higher level of success. The program offers professional ongoing mentoring and targeted projects to help companies succeed at no cost to the company. 

The program is designed to provide technical and business assistance to small companies and early-stage technology-based companies in rural Maryland as defined by the Rural Maryland Council. The goal of the program is to help companies overcome business and technical hurdles and advance to the next growth level. There is no cost to the company to receive assistance.


Assistance to companies is provided by a regional RBI2 mentor. Each region has a local RBI2 business mentor, whose job is to evaluate potential clients, provide resources, consulting services, and technical management assistance. Mentors work closely with company clients at their business.

Examples of company assistance are:

  • Business model or strategy
  • Market strategy/analysis and competitive analysis
  • Funding opportunities and introductions
  • Financial analysis
  • Business plan or grant review
  • Intellectual property
  • Prototype development
  • Manufacturing problem solving

RBI2 mentors will meet with all companies for an initial assessment. Companies qualified to receive mentoring and project assistance must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be involved in developing new technologies/products or utilizing technology to create new or expand their business
  • Must have fewer than 16 employees
  • Annual revenues $1 million or less
  • Good standing with MD Dept. of Taxation & Assessments
Rural Business Innovation Initiative Mentors

South Central Region
(Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s Counties)
Tiffany Davis

Western Region
(Frederick, Washington, Allegany, Garrett Counties)
Chuck Ernst

Upper Shore Region
(Cecil, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Carroll, and Northern Baltimore Counties)
Jack Schammel

Lower Shore Region
(Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester Counties)
Bill Bernard