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Rockefeller Foundation Steers $500K Toward Baltimore Businesses Owned By Minorities, Women

By CBS Baltimore Staff,


BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore-based minority- and women-owned businesses will soon receive a financial bump from The Rockefeller Foundation.

The foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) to support Business Assistance and Support for Equity Network—a partnership of entrepreneurial support organizations led by BDC and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development, according to Susan Yum, the managing director for BDC’s marketing and external relations.

The network was launched in April 2020 in response to challenges that small businesses were facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to BDC staff.

To date, it has assisted more than 3,000 Baltimore businesses by providing them with access to upwards of $40 million in recovery assistance, BDC staff said.

Roughly 70 percent of those businesses are owned by people of color, according to Yum.

“Small businesses and especially those owned by people of color had the most difficulty accessing COVID-related assistance programs,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “The Baltimore BASE Network helped these businesses navigate federal, state, and local aid programs to ensure they were able to access the essential resources available.”

Gregory Johnson, the managing director of the Equity & Economic Opportunity initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, noted that Baltimore has more than 50,000 businesses and more than half of them are owned by people of color.

Those businesses “account for less than 12 percent of business revenues in Baltimore City,” Johnson said.

“Baltimore’s small businesses are crucial to the health of the city’s economy, and we’re grateful for the support of The Rockefeller Foundation,” Scott said.

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