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Maryland New Start Grant Program - Workforce Development & Adult Learning

For Marylanders transitioning back to the community from incarceration, employment and financial security are two important steps on the journey home. Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool that can help returning citizens find both, while also creating new jobs and new opportunities across the state.

The Maryland New Start Act of 2022 established the New Start Grant Program within the Maryland Department of Labor (MD Labor). This program works to empower returning citizens by connecting them to meaningful entrepreneurship development training. As a component of training, students will also be made aware of different small business financing opportunities, including the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Microloan Program, which is expected to launch in early 2024. For additional information about those loans, please visit Commerce's website.

The New Start Grant Program provides financial support for organizations which serve certain populations of returning citizens and incarcerated Marylanders with nationally recognized entrepreneurship development programming. Grants, which are capped at $60,000, are expected to be announced in December of 2023 and successful applicants will have one year to spend funding. Interested applicants must respond to a competitive solicitation and meet all requirements established in the program policy.

Applying for a New Start Grant

Organizations which meet the basic eligibility criteria established in the program policy are invited to respond to the competitive solicitation for funding. New Start Grants may be used to support a number of programmatic and administrative costs. In order to be considered for funding, programs must generally provide eligible participants with at least the following opportunities:

  • A nationally recognized entrepreneurship development curriculum,
  • Executive mentoring opportunities with local business leaders,
  • A business plan competition program for incarcerated participants, and
  • Re-entry services.

Applicants must also be able to demonstrate that their proposed program has secured at least 25% of the requested award amount from non-State sources, including indirect and in-kind contributions.

Applicants should carefully review the program policy, solicitation, and resources below prior to applying.

Prior to submission, review the required and optional documents table below to ensure a complete application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Solicitation and Policy Documents

New Start Grant Program Policy

New Start Grant Program Solicitation

New Start Grant Program Application for Initial Grant Funding

New Start Grant Program Application Budget (.xlsx)

New Start Grant Program Pre-Proposal Conference Presentation

New Start Grant Program Solicitation Q&A


US Small Business Association - Office of Entrepreneurship Education

Maryland Department of Commerce

Maryland Small Business Development Centers

Division of Workforce Development & Adult Learning - Correctional Education

Division of Workforce Development & Adult Learning - Re-Entry Resources


Grant Program Contact

Casey Tiefenwerth, MSW
Special Grants Program Manager
Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning
Maryland Department of Labor
(410) 767-3282 (O)