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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $300,000 to Support the National Urban League’s New Entrepreneurship Center Program in Baltimore

WASHINGTON – U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams today in Baltimore joined Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and National Urban League CEO Marc Morial to announce a $300,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the National Urban League for the development of a new Entrepreneurship Center Program. The program will provide training and technical assistance to micro-business owners as well as entrepreneurs who have been financially affected by the recent unrest in the region. According to grantee estimates, services from workshops and seminars to one-on-one counseling and mentoring will save or create 36 jobs in the first 12 months, and generate $1 million in contracting and bonding opportunities.

“Supporting entrepreneurs and helping them turn their ideas into successful businesses is a key element to helping ensure America remains competitive in the global economy,” said Assistant Secretary Williams. “The EDA investment announced today will not only help Baltimore’s economy rebound, but it will provide new opportunities that will ultimately make it stronger and more resilient in the future. I applaud the Urban League for its efforts to support local businesses and build a brighter future for the people of Baltimore.”

“Entrepreneurship is one of the most fundamental elements of economic self-sufficiency,” Morial said. “Particularly in communities of color, small businesses have always played a critical role as job creators and wealth generators. The Entrepreneurship Center Program opens up new business opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to qualify for financing and receive individual and group training.”

“The Center will provide badly needed resources to dozens of entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “These entrepreneurs will not only increase their own incomes and their own ability to provide for their families, but they will also be able to leverage their success to create jobs and opportunities for friends, neighbors and relatives who might otherwise remain unemployed or under-employed. This program will also offer our youth the tools by which they might craft their own enterprise and pursue their dreams of a way up and a way out of poverty.”

The EDA investment will assist the National Urban League, Inc. with the development of a new Entrepreneurship Center Program that will conduct seminars for startups and small/micro-enterprises as well as a series of weekly workshops "on-site" that provide in-depth education and training in topics such as drafting a business plan, marketing and promoting your business, business management, taxes and accounting, customer service, hiring and managing employees, financing your business venture and technology. Additionally, the center will provide individualized consultation for entrepreneurs enrolled in the program through staff and consultants as well as access to workspace, infrastructure, and equipment to owners of Micro Business Enterprises to support their ventures.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.