Alongside Horseshoe Baltimore Casino General Manager Chad Barnhill, members of the Mayor’s Coalition on Supplier and Diversity Inclusion, and representatives of this year’s Top 100 MBE®s, the mayor discussed her vision for all businesses to have the opportunity to compete and succeed in Baltimore.
“As we make strides to grow the city by 10,000 families, the growth of small and independent businesses that create jobs and economic opportunity for all is vital,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “I envision Baltimore as an entrepreneurial Mecca—attracting businesses from outside of Baltimore, and focusing on retaining and growing the businesses we already have. Our minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises are essential to accomplishing this goal.”
This week is filled with activities that will provide a forum to recognize and strengthen minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs). Events include a tour of a few Baltimore MWBEs, a mentoring session for students from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and area colleges, and meaningful discussions about the current state of MWBEs and the future impact of the “New Majority” – youth, women and people of color. The landmark event of the week, the 7th annual Top 100 MBE® Awards, will highlight some of the region’s most extraordinary MWBEs.
Understanding the importance of diversity and equitable inclusion in business, Mayor Rawlings-Blake says she’s committed to the success of minority- and women-owned businesses. In September, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) awarded Baltimore a $900,000 grant to operate a business center that will facilitate collaborative efforts among minority-owned firms and Fortune 500 companies, broadening MWBEs’ access to resources on a national level.
Earlier this year, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises – comprised of local business leaders and nationally-renowned experts – released its report, entitled, “A New Day, A Better Way,” after an extensive examination of best practices. The advisory council made bold suggestions to address fundamental obstacles in City’s MWBE program, creating a platform for the program’s future direction.
To continue the work of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, Mayor Rawlings-Blake established the Mayor’s Coalition on Supplier Diversity and Inclusion, which has already begun to assist with the oversight and implementation of the recommendations made by the advisory council and will advise the City on matters related to inclusion and diversity.
For more information on Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Week in Baltimore, contact the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development at 410-396-3818.