Posted at 10:05 AM
Problem solvers, game changers, dreamers, and doers – these are just a few descriptors commonly associated with entrepreneurs all across the U.S. Today, more than ever, we see the power and impact new businesses have throughout developing communities as these startups create jobs, improve quality of life, and help define the characteristics that make communities alive and unique.
Last April, in the midst of the unrest taking place in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, we saw first-hand how important micro-business owners and entrepreneurs are to supporting economic opportunity and jobs locally. However, too often people in underserved communities lack the opportunities and resources to put their dreams into action, and as a basic component of economic self-sufficiency, it is ever more important we strive to support entrepreneurship across every community in America.
Last week, I was pleased to travel to Baltimore where I was joined by National Urban League (NUL) President & CEO Marc Morial and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to announce a $300,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) investment in the NUL that will help to establish a new Entrepreneurship Center Program. The program will provide critical training and technical assistance to those negatively impacted financially by the unrest.
The NUL is uniquely positioned to help strengthen and grow the city’s small business and entrepreneur community. Baltimore will be the 13th city to host a NUL Entrepreneurship Center Program, which have helped 11,000 business owners across the nation to date.
In Baltimore, the new Center will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with access to weekly workshops that will deliver in-depth education and training in topics such as drafting a business plan, marketing and promoting your business, business management, taxes and accounting, customer service, hiring and managing employees, financing your business venture and technology. The center will also provide individualized consultation for entrepreneurs enrolled in the program through staff and consultants as well as access to workspace, infrastructure, and equipment to owner of Micro Business Enterprises to support their ventures.
This essential center in Baltimore will help save or create critical jobs and generate nearly $1 million in contracting and bonding opportunities.
Supporting entrepreneurs and helping them turn their ideas into successful businesses is a key element to Commerce Departments “Open for Business” agenda. Not only will today’s grant help Baltimore’s economy rebound, but it will also provide new opportunities that will ultimately make it stronger and more resilient in the future.
With the support of this important investment in the National Urban League we will help support local business and build a brighter future for the people of Baltimore.