Starting, scaling, creating and availing: Learn about these 10 Baltimore-based springtime entrepreneurial programs


Full disclosure: This article highlights a project from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, which has previously funded Technical.ly’s Baltimore reporter position via the Report for America program. That relationship is unrelated to this report.

Entrepreneurship can be an isolating journey. But, with the right support and resources, founders can build and scale successful businesses.

In service of that, we compiled this list of the latest accelerators and business support programs in Baltimore. Several of these resources came from a preview of spring programs that the team at Impact Hub Baltimore previewed alongside The Baltimore BASE (Business Assistance and Support for Equity) Network and partners during a special event on Wednesday. All of them can offer founders invaluable knowledge, skills and resources, as well as the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and build a sense of camaraderie.

Whether you’re an aspiring or established entrepreneur, we hope this guide will help you navigate the various opportunities available to you this season, starting with one whose application is due on Friday:

Innovation Works + Miller Center Boost Program

The Innovation Works (IW) + Miller Center (MC) Boost program for Spring 2023 is now accepting applications. This joint entrepreneurial development workshop between IW and MC for Social Entrepreneurship is designed to help leaders of established organizations based in Baltimore, including nonprofits, for-profits, and hybrid social enterprises. Over four days, participants will learn essential business fundamentals, enhance their strategic thinking skills, and develop a business plan that demonstrates social impact, a path to growth, and long-term financial sustainability.

Applications are due Friday, March 17.

View the IW + MC Boost application

Made In Baltimore Home-Run Accelerator

Made In Baltimore’s Home-Run Accelerator is a five-month small business development program designed to assist home-based entrepreneurs in scaling up and expanding into commercial production spaces. The program runs from May through September and is specifically tailored for product-based businesses operated by entrepreneurs in their homes or shared makerspaces.

The program’s curriculum focuses on providing the necessary organizational tools to prepare a small small business to scale. Additionally, the program covers such essential nuts and bolts of early-stage growth as hiring the first employees, finding the right commercial lease and identifying raw material suppliers.

Accelerator alum Alisa Brock, the owner of Drama MaMa Bookshop, said that the program’s support helped her stationery manufacturing company raise the necessary funds to both keep its physical space and expand its wholesale operations.

“Drama MaMa received organizational and marketing education that helped us push the business forward in front of new audiences,” she told Technical.ly. “We were able to acquire contractors and increase our revenue in 2022. Being a part of the Made In Baltimore network is incredible! We now have a body of entrepreneurs that we can reach out to for advice and support.”

Applications are due Sunday, March 26.

View Made In Baltimore’s Home-Run Accelerator Application

Technical.ly’s Q&A w/ Made In Baltimore’s Andy Cook

Google for Startups Black Founders Fund

The Black Founders Fund supports Black entrepreneurs in the US to build and grow their businesses. The fund provides cash awards of $150,000 without taking any equity in return. Additionally, recipients are eligible for up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits and will receive mentorship from experienced Googlers. The program also offers resources such as sales training, mental health therapy and investor preparation — all at no cost to the recipients. It aims to provide non-dilutive capital and other supports so that Black founders’ ventures can succeed.

Applications are due Sunday, March 26.

Learn more about Google’s Black Founders Fund

Apply for Google’s Black Founders Fund

People in multicolored clothing in rows of white chairs at Impact Hub Baltimore preview of programs

The audience at Impact Hub Baltimore’s Spring Program Preview in March 2023. (Courtesy photo by Andy Cook)

Impact Hub Baltimore + Empower by GoDaddy Persona Research Intensive

A high-impact training program led by Impact Hub Baltimore and Empower by Go Daddy on persona research and action planning is now available for entrepreneurs who wish to improve their knowledge of their customers. The two-part intensive program aims to guide participants through persona research and teach them how to create a buyer persona. Personas are valuable tools that help businesses coordinate various areas, from marketing to sales and new product development. By conducting persona research and exploring existing customers, participants can create a profile of their ideal customers. This knowledge can then be used to make more informed business decisions and gain confidence in understanding their customers.

Registration is now open, with the next offerings taking place on Monday, March 20 and Monday, March 27.

Learn more about persona research

Reserve a spot in offering #2

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s Downtown BOOST Program

The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and its collaborators are set to launch the Downtown BOOST Program, which is aimed at supporting five creative and purpose-driven, Black-owned retail businesses located in prime Downtown Baltimore storefronts. The program is designed to not only propel the businesses but also develop signature amenities for Downtown residents, employees and visitors. The long-term success of the business will be achieved through various forms of support provided by the program like no-cost legal support to facilitate lease negotiations, architectural design and project management from local partners to guide storefront build-out and marketing plan assistance.

Applications are due Friday, March 31.

Learn more about the Downtown BOOST Program

Apply for the Downtown BOOST program

Robert W. Deutsch Foundation’s 2023 Rubys Artist Grant

This program offers project-based support for artists in four categories: Literary Arts, Media Arts, Performing Arts and Visual Arts. The foundation seeks to provide meaningful assistance to artists at any stage of their careers, enabling them to create or complete new work with a public component. Grants of up to $15,000 are available to support proposals over 12 months, with a preference for projects with significant creative work left to be done.

Applications are due Friday, March 31.

Read about previous grantees with tech-influenced creative interests

Apply for the Ruby’s

Trish Otori in pink beret and green dress near table with white tablecloth and orange text and signs

CEO Trish Ofori of Ofori & Co. at the Spring Programs Preview. (Courtesy photo by Andy Cook)

Ofori & Co. Make Space Accelerator

The inaugural Make Space Accelerator — led by Ofori & Co. with the support of partners like Fulton Bank, Innovation Works and the City of Baltimore — aspires to achieve several objectives, including providing future home ownership and business readiness training; activating under-invested Black and brown Baltimore communities through art; and presenting a replicable model of equitable and sustainable artist housing, as a way of addressing the city’s housing crisis. This accelerator program will partner with various community organizations to offer both Spanish- and English-language business and homeownership training.

Participants will have access to sixty hours of virtual and in-person training that is community-focused and centered on the Mount Clare neighborhood. If you’re passionate about helping creatives achieve home ownership, you can become a mentor for this accelerator.

Learn more about Make Space

Fill out an interest form for Make Space

Become a Make Space Mentor

Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy’s 5th annual Co-op Jumpstart

This May 13 event features a day of workshops focused on establishing and running worker cooperatives. The program is designed for anyone interested in cooperatives, whether they are established worker-owners or just starting to explore the concept. Participants will learn about cooperative structure and economics, gain insights on starting or structuring a cooperative and engaging with experienced worker-owners. The event promises to be a valuable resource for cooperatively-minded workers who want to expand their knowledge and skills.

Registration is open until slots are filled.

Reserve a spot for BRED’s Cooperative Jumpstart

Baltimore Children Youth Fund (BCYF) Youth-Focused Grassroots Grant

Earlier this month, BCYF opened grant applications for its Grassroots Fund with a new streamlined application process and revised community-driven grantmaking priorities. The Grassroots Fund aims to address funding gaps in Baltimore’s landscape by providing funding for youth-serving organizations that are grassroots and Baltimore-based. The program offers $150,000, three-year grants to up to 30 eligible community-accountable organizations. The multi-year grant cycle enables BCYF to invest in building the capacity of its grantees, which positions organizations for success beyond BCYF funding. Along with financial support, the grant recipients will also receive technical assistance and capacity-building support to aid them in sustaining and growing their organizations.

Applications are due Friday, April 7 at 5 pm

Learn more about the BCYF 2023 Grassroots Fund

Apply for the 2023 Grassroots Fund

The Peale’s Grit Fund Artist Grant

This program from The Peale provides funding for artists and cultural organizers who seek to build connections within their communities. It subsidizes projects that promote collaboration and community engagement within Baltimore’s arts and culture scene, with grants of up to $10,000 for proposals with a public-facing component. The program also aims to bring artists and community members together to explore a shared sense of place and space and to contribute to the vibrancy and development of Baltimore’s cultural landscape. Those interested in supporting these creative professionals can also become a juror to help The Peale review applications.

Applications are due by Sunday, April 30.

Learn more about The Grit Fund

Apply for The Grit Fund

Become a juror for The Grit Fund


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