(Photo courtesy Mark Dennis/Baltimore City
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stood surrounded by leaders of the Baltimore tech community as she began her weekly news conference at City Hall on Wednesday morning.
There, she unveiled $575,000 in new funding from the Baltimore Development Corporation Innovation Fund, specifically aimed at retaining and attracting tech and innovation companies. Rawlings-Blake first announced plans for the fund last year.
“This fund is a catalyst for further entrepreneurship, and I think it is one of the hallmarks of what BDC is doing,” Rawlings-Blake said at what is expected to be her final press conference as mayor. “It’s not just money that is going out the door but the way they’re using that to add strength to some of our emerging businesses in the city.”
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Diversity is another key aim, as many of the awards set aside specific percentages to go to women- and minority-owned businesses. The one-time funds are also going to organizations looking to build on efforts to spur social entrepreneurship and create startups in West Baltimore.
Here’s the breakdown of the seven orgs that won awards, via the city:
- Innovation Village, which is spearheading an innovation district in West Baltimore, received $100,000 to support entrepreneurship and business recruitment and retention.
- Conscious Venture Labs, the accelerator focused on purpose-driven companies that is relocating to Innovation Village, received $100,000 to be used for grants to entrepreneurs. Thirty-five percent of the funding must go to women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Impact Hub Baltimore, the social entrepreneurship space in Station North, received $35,000 for grants to businesses, with 35 percent required to women and minority-owned businesses.
- Baltimore Angels, the investment group targeting early-stage companies, received $75,000 for investment in startups, with 50 percent going to women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Social Innovation Lab, the Johns Hopkins-run accelerator program for social entrepreneurship, received $100,000 for grants to ventures, with 35 percent required to go to women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Betamore, the Federal Hill incubator, received $50,000 for programming and education with a strong focus on minority- and women-owned businesses.
- Labs@Light City, the innovation conference portion of the weeklong Light City Baltimore festival, received $100,000 to support programming.
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