As we were discussing a business to feature on our blog for Black Business Month, Kingdomware Technologies was one of the first to come to mind. The Waldorf-based business specializes in providing web, software, client network, and mobile application solutions to government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. They’ve received numerous awards, including a 2018 Minority Business Leader Award from the Washington Business Journal, and hold multiple contracts with the federal, state, and local governments.
The company got its start in 1993, when husband and wife, Tim and LaTonya Barton, created software for their church that allowed members to access parishioners’ names, faces, and other information. According to LaTonya, they chose to start their company in Charles County where they already lived, due to affordability relative to the surrounding counties.
In March 2020, COVID wreaked havoc on businesses across the country. One thing Kingdomware had to change was their way of communicating with customers, switching completely to videoconferencing instead of in-person meetings. They were able to get COVID-related grants through the Charles County Economic Development Department (EDD), which they used to upgrade equipment and pay salaries.
LaTonya said, “The grants were very helpful and because we were able to upgrade our services, our business during COVID has actually increased. We’ve been able to do everything electronically, and the things that our customers weren’t doing electronically, they have asked us to help them do. So, upgrading our system not only allowed us to increase our service to them, but they also gave us more work as a result.”
Regarding government contracting, LaTonya thinks it’s much harder since COVID to get customers. “I believe it’s easier to start a business nowadays, she said, “but not as easy to get customers in the government space as it used to be because people only work with people they trust. A lot of times, trust is built with real relationships with people, but that’s harder to do via videoconferencing. It’s not like going out to meet somebody and shaking their hand.” She added that many government customers want to do business with somebody they know and not somebody they just met through a videoconference, unless that person has been referred by somebody they trust.
Kingdomware Technologies is a certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB), a Small Disadvantaged Business (SBD), and a MD Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). A minority business resource that LaTonya says has benefited their company is the 8(a) Business Development Program with the Small Business Administration (SBA). The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small, disadvantaged businesses. The program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
To learn more about resources for your local and/or minority-owned business, check our Local & Minority Business Programs page or contact Lucinia Mundy, Business Development Specialist, at 301-885-1340 x2202 or MundyL@MeetCharlesCounty.com