Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and the Baltimore Congressional Delegation today announced $450,288 to support minority- and women-owned businesses, lift up underserved community entrepreneurs, spur economic growth and create jobs across the Baltimore metro region.
Funding comes from U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Economic Development Administration (EDA) Opportunity Zones Assistance Project. It will help Operation HOPE and Morgan State University provide training sessions, financial guidance and technical assistance to 1,240 Baltimore-area business owners and community entrepreneurs, with a focus on women-owned and minority-owned business ventures. This new federal investment will be matched with local funding to cover the full project cost.
“As a result of systemic and entrenched injustices in our society, businesses located in underserved communities – and especially businesses owned by women and people of color – have faced tremendous barriers to accessing the financial resources and technical support they need to succeed,” the lawmakers said. “With strategic investments, more minority-owned and women-owned businesses can get off the ground, prosper and boost local economies with good-paying jobs. We will continue working to deliver federal resources that help small business owners and strengthen Maryland’s economy for generations to come.”
“Given our mission and designation as Maryland's Preeminent Public Urban Research University, we are looking forward to working with Operation HOPE and the U.S. EDA to assist in facilitating economic empowerment and participating in the community uplift of minority entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses and distressed communities that have been disproportionately, adversely impacted by COVID-19,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University.
Operation HOPE is a nonprofit organization working to disrupt poverty and empower low- and moderate-income youths and adults by focusing on financial dignity and inclusion.