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Resource Roundup: Harbor Bank and Cerebro Capital have $50M in loans for Baltimore small biz

Plus, a new resource portal for local artists, mentorship for microbusinesses, and tons of cash award opportunities for Johns Hopkins students.

Harbor Bank of Maryland is opening paths to capital with Cerebro Capital. via Giphy user Docville

Resource Roundup is a look at open applications for business and career-building programs around the region. Want to tell us about a program or new opportunity for entrepreneurs and technologists? Email us at

Baltimore fintech company Cerebro Capital is partnering with the Harbor Bank of Maryland to provide $50 million in a dedicated loan program for minority-owned small businesses in the Baltimore region.

Using Cerebro’s digital loan matching platform, Harbor Bank is looking to provide loans as large as $2 million to small businesses that apply through the Cerebro Capital program. Businesses that qualify can expect term sheets within 24 business hours, and other no-cost perks. The benefit of going through Cerebro is to streamline the process and get capital more quickly to minority entrepreneurs, who have traditionally been underserved by the commercial credit market.

“Partnering with Cerebro will allow us to leverage Cerebro’s technology and processes making it easier and faster for deployment of capital into the minority business community,” Harbor Bank SVP and Chief Lending Officer Stanley Arnold said in a statement.

Apply for a loan

Cerebro released a report last year that showed commercial lending activity picking up during the pandemic. This week’s loan announcement also comes on the heels of the company hiring two new managing directors of credit origination.

GoDaddy’s Empower program

GoDaddy is doing its part to help the microbusinesses in Baltimore: The web hosting company’s new Empower program is coming to Impact Hub Baltimore this month. Expect five cohorts throughout the year for this six-week, in-person learning cohorts focused on web and digital presence.

Microbusinesses are the people selling food platters on Instagram, advertising commissions for art, or styling hair and using a site to book appointments — a hustler by any other name. In the Baltimore metro area, there were 192,000 online microbusinesses as of summer 2021.

The Empower program, outside of the technical support and expertise of GoDaddy, offers a free GoDaddy domain to participants. You can register for the free launch event happening the evening of Feb. 17 at Impact Hub. Although the first Empower cohort is full, the second cohort is open for registration.

Register for the second cohort

Baltimore Artist Navigator

Artist in Baltimore who are trying to book venues, find experts in different disciplines, or get grants to fund their projects now have the Baltimore Artist Navigator as a resource.

Powered by social change nonprofit Baltimore Corps and designed by EcoMap Technologies, the platform also provides one-on-one free consultations to the Baltimore’s available resources, connections with organizational partners and other creatives.

Check it out

28 Days of Black Futures

Baltimore-based social change org CLLCTIVLY is running a monthlong campaign called 28 Days of Black Futures, highlighting Black-led groups serving Greater Baltimore. Its goal is to raise $100,000 to support organizations that have historically been underfunded.

Whether you donate or not, the 28-day campaign is a chance to find 28 Black organizations doing work to change the lives and outcomes for people in Baltimore everyday. You might even learn about a program or mission championed by local Black leaders and social impact entrepreneurs that could either help or inspire your own journey.

Check it out

FastForward resources

John Hopkins University program FastForward is offering a multitude of resources to local entrepreneurs.

  • The Ignite Fund for student entrepreneurs offers $500 to $1,000 to Hopkins students to move ventures forward on a rolling basis all year.
  • The FastForward U summer incubator for students is accepting admissions until March 1. Participants will receive free housing and a $1,250 grant for additional support.
  • The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge for alumni and students offers multiple prizes in the $10,000 or more range for ventures that apply by the deadline of March 1.
  • HopStart: Hopkins New Venture Challenge is looking for the best business plan. Student ventures have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in prize money.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: Impact Hub Baltimore / CLLCTIVLY / Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship / Johns Hopkins University

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