Want to grab a drink at a brewery with ecological stewardship in mind? Looking for a vet to visit your pets at home? Feel like posting a fantastical color-changing cup of tea (with cotton candy on top) on social media? What about recommendations for a photobooth company (now with virtual options)? Entrepreneurial Retrievers are making names for themselves in almost every vocation—but a pandemic can make it difficult for small businesses to thrive.
To help showcase and support these small business owners and independent contractors, in summer 2020 the UMBC Alumni Association launched the UMBC Alumni Business Directory. The directory provides a one-stop search for Retriever-owned businesses, and helps UMBC alumni network and do business together.
“I love the idea of the Alumni Business Directory—showcasing the work and achievements of our graduates,” says Marian Saunders White ’87, information systems management, president of The Refinery, LLC, a management and business operations consulting firm. “I’m proud of the work that our firm has accomplished this far and I know I was able to start and operate the company because of the educational foundation I received at UMBC, as well as the on-going support I get now from other alumni.”
This new service launched in the midst of a pandemic to help support alumni-owned businesses that have had to adjust their operations in response to COVID-19.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and we know many alumni-owned businesses have been negatively affected,” says Sara Lerma Jones, associate director of Alumni Engagement. “The business directory was already in progress, and we accelerated its debut as a way to highlight and support these businesses. The directory is another way for our alumni to connect with and support each other, and highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of our graduates.”
Each week, a different alumni-owned business from the ABD is highlighted and promoted on the Alumni Association’s social media channels as an additional layer of support. “I’m happy to contribute to the on-going success story of UMBC,” says Saunders White, “and to see the many different ways we are contributing to our communities.”
Search or join the UMBC Alumni Business Directory.
Header image: Brittany Wight ’08, visual arts, of Wight Tea Company hands a drink to a customer at Whitehall Mill. Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11.