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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Monday plans for a $1 million fund designed to help small and medium-sized businesses get access to technology.
The Innovation Fund is part of a 20-point “Strategic Plan for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Growth” that Rawlings-Blake released during her State of the City address on Monday.
Details are still being finalized. As Baltimore Development Corporation President William H. Cole described it, the fund is designed to provide flexible loans to “small businesses that need to buy that next piece of equipment.” He offered an example of a manufacturing company that wanted to buy 3D printers.
“I want to make certain that we’re there for companies who need to buy equipment, and they can’t find other ways to do it,” Cole said.
Additionally, Cole said the money will be used to “grow the tech sector,” which could include loans or grants for technology startups. He used the example of a company that graduated ETC’s AccelerateBaltimore program (which is backed by BDC), and chose to make Baltimore home. In that case, the money wouldn’t necessarily need to be for equipment, Cole said.
Overall, the 20-point plan has four main goals, Rawlings-Blake said:
- Increase resources for small businesses
- Cultivate the innovation economy
- Promote an inclusive economy
- Make Baltimore more business-friendly
Another point of the plan calls for development of an online portal that will help small businesses navigate City Hall.
During the State of the City address, Rawlings-Blake also introduced a new online mapping platform that is designed shows the details of local development projects.
“I want to be able to highlight what is happening in Baltimore, and what is coming to your neighborhoods,” Rawlings-Blake said.
EconView is expected to go live this week. When visitors roll over an address on the map, they’ll be able to see real-time data. Details like building owners, project cost and status of construction will be included.
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