The Maryland Business Enterprise for the Blind (MDBEP) provides opportunities for individuals who are legally blind to operate retail concession, gift, or food service businesses in public facilities. MDBEP operates under the Randolph-Sheppard Act.
MDBEP is continually seeking qualified individuals who are blind, and who have the desire and drive, to become small business entrepreneurs.
Long-time MBEPB professional, Melba Taylor, who has managed a large military food service operation at the Freedom Inn Dining Facility at Fort Meade for more than eleven years, received the Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Army Food Service. Ms. Taylor and teaming partner Son’s Quality Food Company are pictured here with their trophy.
Maya Redfearn lost her vision in 2004 when a stroke left her completely blind. She had previously been employed as a manager for McDonald’s wanted to go back to work. She participated in training at the DORS Workforce & Technology Center where she became somewhat famous because of her large and unusual collection of sunglasses. Maya got involved with MBEPB in 2010, eventually taking over her first facility, the Pratt Marketplace at 100 East Pratt Street in Baltimore. “I am a totally blind person and I can do this…BEP gives you everything…there’s no reason I can’t be successful."
Martin Smutek had worked for the Maryland Transit Administration, but his low vision prevented him from furthering that career. At 27, Martin felt he was too young to retire: “I just want to work.” He completed the BEP interview and training process and went on to take college-level management and business classes. He then completed a BEP internship, a work-based learning experience, and training in the BEP facilities in Baltimore. He now runs the cafe at the United States Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay. “It’s a great opportunity,” said Martin, “if you are willing to put in the work you can be successful.”
2301 Argonne Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218
410-554-9442 | 888-554-0334 | 443-798-2840 VP
The Vocational Rehabilitation program receives 78.7% of its funding through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For Federal fiscal year 2019, the total amount of grant funds awarded were $47,197,460. The remaining 21.3% of the costs ($12,773,900) were funded by State appropriations.