Startups

GoDaddy highlights Baltimore’s social impact entrepreneurs in latest ‘Made in America’ season

The YouTube docuseries' fourth season features Mayor Brandon Scott and leaders from companies and entities including WhitePaws RunMitts, Impact Hub Baltimore and Harp Vision.

Susan Clayton, founder of apparel company WhitePaws RunMitts, in a scene from GoDaddy's "Made in America."

(Courtesy image)

Domain registration giant GoDaddy highlighted its various relationships with Baltimore-based small business, social impact entities and entrepreneurs in its latest season of “Made in America,” its docuseries highlighting minority-owned small business owners across the country.

The fourth season’s first episode, which premiered Thursday, features commentary on Baltimore’s small business climate and opportunities from people such as Mayor Brandon Scott, WhitePaws RunMitts founder Susan Clayton and Sonavi Labs CEO Ellington West.

A portion of the episode highlights the work done by Impact Hub Baltimore, whose executive director, Michelle Geiss, and director of acceleration, Q Ragsdale, discuss social impact entrepreneurship as a vehicle for fighting the city’s deeply entrenched racial and economic segregation.

“It’s my goal to take a further look into how you can use business models to create social impact, how you don’t have to just engage in capitalism from a take-only perspective — that yes, you can make money while also creating a platform to allow other people to stand on, as well,” Ragsdale said in the episode.

Impact Hub Baltimore, as explored in the episode, has an ongoing relationship with GoDaddy via its Empower by GoDaddy philanthropic program, which offers funds and entrepreneurial resources to nonprofits and community development financial institutions worldwide. Adam Palmer, GoDaddy’s director of creative production operations, told Technical.ly that the “Made in America” season was launching “as an extension” of that partnership.

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Palmer also mentioned an Oct. 19 event that GoDaddy and Impact Hub Baltimore will also host at the SNF Parkway Theatre, close to the latter organization’s North Avenue HQ.

“The event will allow our team to connect with Baltimore’s microbusiness community in-person,” Palmer said via email. “The program has been designed to train and upskill entrepreneurs on building and scaling their business, inspire future entrepreneurs to start their first business and celebrate the 600-plus Empower by GoDaddy Baltimore participants. In addition, we’ll be hosting a premiere screening of ‘Made in America’ at the event.”

Palmer used a term, “microbusiness,” to describe small ventures that have few employees or lack other structures (i.e. employment ID numbers) that more traditional businesses posses. GoDaddy’s own research suggests that Baltimore boasts more microbusinesses than most US metro regions, with more than twice the number of the per capita national metro average and over 30% of them being founded during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Made in America” links this to both GoDaddy’s own work with such businesses’ founders and a history of discriminatory practices that made such a climate possible.

“We understand first-hand that this is a powerful community that wants to build itself up, to build each other up and to support minority-owned businesses,” Palmer said. To that end, the series will spotlight people like Clayton — one of few Black owners of winter apparel companies in the country — and Harp Vision founders Tyron and April Harper in the season’s remaining three episodes.

“Our experience in Baltimore shows us a resilient city and a proud community that have decades of racial, social and economic disparity that have effectively kept people of color from prospering,” Palmer said. “The work we feel compelled to accomplish here is building a bridge to fast-track these small businesses to succeed in ways that have not been previously available to our customers and to the community-at-large. This has been the commitment behind our Empower by GoDaddy program and extends through the storytelling in ‘Made in America.’ This commitment is to education, resources, and giving recognition to those who’ve persevered. ”

Watch the first episode below, and check YouTube every Thursday for the season’s remaining episodes:

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