RELEASE: Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young Announces Public-Private Partnership to Assist Small Businesses Seeking Technical Assistance to Access Federal, State, and Philanthropic Financial Relief Programs

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Bernard C. “Jack” Young


City of Baltimore

250 City Hall • Baltimore, Maryland 21202 • 410-396-3835



April 17, 2020

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Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young Announces Public-Private Partnership to Assist Small Businesses Seeking Technical Assistance to Access Federal, State, and Philanthropic Financial Relief Programs

Mayor Young, Baltimore Development Corporation, and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Development partner with the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund to expand technical assistance capacity for small businesses

BALTIMORE, MD.  — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the expansion of technical assistance and business support services available to Baltimore City-based businesses through a new public-private partnership between the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund (Support Fund). Baltimore City has more than 12,000 small businesses, including over 3,500 minority-and women owned enterprises and numerous small nonprofits.  At this time, these businesses urgently need additional support and access to technical expertise to make informed decisions about their business challenges and find solutions in these uncertain times.

“Small business is the lifeblood of Baltimore City’s economy, and these local employers are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their operations and business models as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “I am thankful the City is able to expand our capacity to serve small businesses by partnering with our local philanthropic and non-profit organizations and act as a conduit to these additional resource providers.”

The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (SMWB) are partnering with the Support Fund to assemble a technical assistance network that will help small businesses complete applications for appropriate federal, state, and philanthropic financial assistance programs that are currently available and federal programs that are expected to be replenished in the coming days. As has been seen over the last several weeks, the demand for funding is great. This network will allow small businesses to position themselves to be prepared as funding becomes available from a variety of sources.

Established in 2018, the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund seeks to address barriers in community lending that disproportionately affect entrepreneurs of color— and to work alongside related investment efforts. Initially created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Support Fund represents a philanthropic collaboration to build greater capacity within regional community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and nonprofit service providers. Members of the Support Fund that will participate in the technical assistance partnership include Baltimore Business Lending, Baltimore Corps, Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management at Morgan State University, Impact Hub Baltimore, Innovation Works, and Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC).

“The Baltimore Small Business Support Fund is proud to partner with the City in its efforts to assist entrepreneurs during this time of crisis,” says James Wahls, social investments portfolio manager at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Given the magnified impact on entrepreneurs of color, this partnership aims to provide an equitable and inclusionary response to the needs of our local small business owners.”

The Support Fund, a donor-advised fund administered by Baltimore Community Foundation, has secured funding commitments from the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, Abell Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore Community Foundation, Goldman Sachs Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Open Society Institute – Baltimore, Opportunity Finance Network, PNC Bank, and the Surdna Foundation.

“Shortly after the shelter-in-place order, BDC launched an online survey to gauge the impact on Baltimore small businesses in real time,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of BDC. “We assigned a staff member to follow up with every survey respondent to provide personalized assistance. Through this outreach, it became very clear early on that businesses would need help navigating through the different assistance programs. This collaborative network is set up to provide just that.”

BDC, SMWB, and the Support Fund’s network will provide targeted technical assistance by helping local small businesses, including nonprofits, navigate online applications and gather required documents for COVID-19 related financial assistance programs. This includes assistance with completing online applications for the recently announced $10 million fund focused on Baltimore that is financed by Goldman Sachs and managed by the CDFI Lendistry. Support Fund partner LEDC will also accept loan applications for Small Business Administration-backed lending programs to help Baltimore’s small businesses in under-served communities. The partners network will also help businesses apply for non-governmental and philanthropic financial assistance, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Save Small Business Fund.

“My administration is closely monitoring and tracking all resources available to small businesses to weather this pandemic crisis, but we can’t do it alone,” said Mayor Young. “That is why this public-private partnership with the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund to provide enhanced technical assistance services to Baltimore’s small businesses is vitally important.”

Businesses who are not already connected to one of the technical assistance providers in the network can sign up for assistance through the BDC, the City of Baltimore’s economic development agency, by visiting and filling out the web form.  Additional information and resources for small businesses can be found in the “For Businesses” section of the Baltimore Together website.