National media says entrepreneurship is part of the Baltimore narrative - Baltimore


Oct. 31, 2016 9:22 am

National media says entrepreneurship is part of the Baltimore narrative

In articles from the New York Times and CNBC, the city's efforts to spur startups and manufacturing are front and center (alongside references to “The Wire”).

A rendering of Under Armour's forthcoming Port Covington campus.

(Courtesy image)

When national media outlets mention manufacturing and job creation in Baltimore, it’s usually about the loss of steel and the job losses that followed.

So it’s noteworthy that two articles from business behemoths over the weekend pointed out efforts in the city to create new opportunities by using today’s tools. As the city’s big institutions get more involved in spurring local entrepreneurship and make big plans, the attention is starting to follow.

In an article that appeared Friday, CNBC looked to make a splash with a headline spotlighting the Kevin Plank-backed development of Port Covington. The scale of the project and ambitions of the Under Armour founder to move manufacturing back to American shores are sure to be closely followed, and Baltimore will be mentioned in each.

Reporter Kate Rogers goes further, though. She also looks at Johns Hopkins’ moves to support startups through FastForward as plans are set to expand the incubator’s footprint near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Sonavex CEO David Narrow makes any national article’s obligatory reference to The Wire, but it’s in the context of flipping that script.

“But when you come to Baltimore, you realize people are very friendly and supportive,” he told CNBC. “They have a chip on their shoulder to prove to the rest of the world that Baltimore really is a great place.”


The city’s struggles are also detailed in a lengthy article featured prominently in the New York Times’ Sunday Business section. Instead of presenting hopelessness, however, reporter Nelson D. Schwartz shows how manufacturing provided opportunity for in Westport.

Profiling Marlin Steel and its evolution following the introduction of robots into the process of making metal baskets, the piece shows one worker’s path from West Baltimore to Morgan State to the Southwest Baltimore factory.

Schwartz points out that the nationally-relevant sign of “hope for troubled cities” he sketches is “less publicized.” This weekend indicates that may be about to change.

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