In the coming months, the Charles County Department of Economic Development will profile local businesses that you should know in our “Looking Local” series. For the first blog of this series, we recently spoke with Mike Steele, founder of La Plata-based Motobriiz LLC.
Motobriiz (pronounced “moto breeze”) manufactures wind powered automatic chain oilers for motorcycles. According to the family-owned company, the idea was “born out of a love for riding and an aversion to the all too frequent chore of manually cleaning the chain and the mess created by spray on lubes.” Founded in Charles County in 2013, Motobriiz takes part of TechFire’s incubation program. In 2015, the company was selected out of 150 companies as one of the “Great Eight Finalists” in Startup Maryland’s 2015 Pitch Across Maryland Tour, earning the opportunity to present at the 2015 TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo.
Charles County Department of Economic Development (Department): Why did you choose to locate your business in Charles County?
Mike Steele (MS): Charles County has been our home since 2003, when our family relocated from Williamsburg, VA, so when starting a business it was the natural choice. We originally chose LaPlata for the easy going lifestyle, and close proximity to great schools, entertainment, cultural and historic attractions.
Department: What are the main advantages of doing business in Charles County?
MS: The support for small businesses is fantastic. From business classes offered by the College of Southern Maryland and the SBDC to all of the other small business support organizations, such as TEDCO, TechFire, Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MDMEP), and StartUpMD there is a community of support out there that is really positive.
Department: Has Charles County’s proximity to the Capitol been beneficial to your company?
MS: Most definitely. Since our company grew out of an invention, being close to the United States Patent Office was very beneficial both to become familiar with the patent process, but also to be able to speak with patent examiners. We were granted a US Patent on March 17, 2015 and we have international patents pending.
Department: What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business?
MS: Learn as much as you can about the resources available to you, create a plan and be prepared to work hard!
Department: What is it like to be part of TechFire’s incubation program?
MS: TechFire’s incubation program is really great. As a first time entrepreneur, you really don’t know if you are doing the right things at the right time or know where to find information or resources that you need. The advisers and serial entrepreneurs have been there and done it, made the mistakes, and help keep you on track and understand the risks and rewards associated with the different paths that you can take your business down.
Motobriiz plans to continue to grow its business in Charles County and around the world. Check out their website for more information.