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Downtown Partnership of Baltimore opens applications for Black-owned business program

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) and its partners have opened the application process for its second Downtown BOOST (Black-Owned and Operated Storefront Tenancy) Program, aimed at assisting Baltimore’s Black-owned retail businesses.

Downtown BOOST will support five Baltimore-based entrepreneurs in prime storefronts in downtown Baltimore, while simultaneously developing amenities for neighborhood residents, employees and visitors alike.

Storefronts selected for the Downtown BOOST Program are pre-approved by the DPOB team in partnership with landlords, residents and other local small businesses. Dotted along the downtown’s Bromo Arts District, the five locations are at 5 North Howard St., 7 North Howard St., 305 North Howard St., 417 North Howard St. and 100 West Lexington St.

Businesses looking to apply to the Downtown BOOST Program must present a strong business plan laddering up to a broader community impact, display original ideas and ultimately support downtown Baltimore’s recovery. Applications are due before March 31 at 5 p.m. and will then be reviewed by a committee of downtown Baltimore stakeholders, including residents and other small business owners.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in May.

A webinar containing more information is scheduled for Feb. 13 when DPOB President Shelonda Stokes and the BOOST project team will present and address questions from prospective applicants. DPOB will also be hosting Open Houses at each of the 2023 BOOST Storefront Properties during the week of Feb. 27 to showcase each opportunity.

To apply for the Downtown BOOST Program, interested small business owners must submit a number of materials, including a detailed business plan and full year of financials for their businesses. To support prospective applicants, DPOB is partnering with the MD Small Business Development Center and Baltimore Community Lending to hold webinars that will guide attendees through developing required documentation. DPOB staff are available to provide additional support to small businesses requesting technical support.