Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake doled out $575,000 in city funds Wednesday to seven Baltimore companies and organizations working in innovation and entrepreneurship.
The money was awarded awarded as part of a one-time funding effort through the Baltimore Development Corp.'s Innovation Fund. The fund was established with the goal of supporting entrepreneurship and job growth in the city. It is aimed especially at helping to build and attract small businesses, which account for almost two-thirds of new job creation, Rawlings-Blake noted.
The seven recipients, including investment groups, incubators and accelerators, were announced during a news conference at City Hall Monday.
Here are the recipients:
- Innovation Village($100,000): funds will be used to recruit, cultivate and retain businesses in Baltimore City
- Conscious Venture Lab in Innovation Village($100,000): funds will go toward providing grants to entrepreneurs, with 35 percent to be allocated for women- and minority-owned businesses
- Social Innovation Lab($100,000): funds will go toward grants for social entrepreneurship efforts, with 35 percent to be allocated for women- and minority-owned businesses
- Light City($100,000): funds will support the Labs@Light City innovation conference
- Baltimore Angels($75,000): funds will go toward investments in small businesses, with 50 percent to be allocated for women- and minority-owned businesses
- Impact Hub($50,000): funds will go toward providing small grants to local businesses, with 35 percent to be allocated for women- and minority-owned businesses
- Betamore incubator ($50,000): funds will be used to bolster programming and educational services, with a focus on supporting women and minority businesses
Rawlings-Blake said she hopes this effort will serve as a "catalyst for further entrepreneurship" in the city.
"This was a huge win for us. And it was a really cool experience to see all these innovation groups and entrepreneurship leaders in the same room," said Jen Meyer, CEO of Betamore. "It was a true showing of the partnership and continued commitment all these leaders have shown in coming together to really bolster and build opportunity in Baltimore."
Meyer said she is also excited about the focus of much of the funding on bolstering women and minority entrepreneurship efforts. She said it is a business segment that is in many ways "underserved," but offers a lot of opportunity for local growth.
"We have an opportunity here to make a great impact that can ripple effects throughout the city," Meyer said.