EmPOWER Program

Frederick County is a diverse and growing community, attracting peoples of all backgrounds and skills. The Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the vibrancy it brings to Frederick County.  

EmPOWER Monthly Networking Events

EmPOWER Mentorship

EmPOWER Resources

EmPOWER Business Directory



In 2015, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) created a minority outreach program for all minority businesses in Frederick County. The goal of the program was to bring together the minority business community and develop a strong platform for businesses to start, locate and grow.  OED developed the first Minority Business Leaders Program and the Minority Business Executive Development Class, in partnership with Hood College and Mount St. Mary's University. In addition, OED held monthly networking events, recognition events, business driven seminars and presentations and provided marketing assistance. In 2020, the program expanded with new initiatives and a new name, EmPOWER program.

EmPOWER’s mission is to create an environment of economic inclusion in Frederick County that supports all business owners, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability or religion. The EmPOWER program has been developed to include resources, educational opportunities, business directory and networking events that support, teach and connect underrepresented local business owners.

EmPOWER seeks to serve underrepresented business owners. We include business community members who are:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Black or African American, Biracial, Hispanic, Latino, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, People of Color; 
  • People with Disabilities; 
  • LGBTQ;
  • Veterans;
  • Women

*This list is non-exhaustive and may include other factors impacting identity.

Are you ready to get involved?

  • RSVP to the next EmPOWER Networking Event
  • Support local underrepresented businesses
  • Add your business to our directory
  • Sign up for our newsletter today!

Contact Shana Knight, Senior Business Development Manager for Diversity & Inclusion to find out more ways you can get involved!

Want to stay updated with the latest from our EmPOWER Diversity & Inclusion program? It's as easy as sending a text!

Text EmPOWER 2021 to (760)670-3130