As our city reckons with the short-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and anticipates additional long-term effects, we at Made In Baltimore are focused on responding to the needs of small businesses that will undoubtedly face challenges due to the economic slowdown.
We want to connect our members with financial relief options, development opportunities, and resources for adapting to new ways of commerce. For a broader repository of local and national resources for residents and businesses, check out the Baltimore Development Corporation’s site Baltimore Together. You can also check out Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts’ fantastic COVID-19 Topics for Artists, Entrepreneurs & Organizations.
With so many different (but often similar) funding options, you may be feeling confused or uncertain how to best use your time when it comes to completing applications. The BDC has a network of local organizations, including MIB, who are on hand to offer technical assistance to local businesses. To get in touch with this network, submit an intake form on their Baltimore Together site here.
As our state begins to ease restrictions and we look to increasing customer traffic, check out this guide to the best practices for reopening businesses from the Minority Business Development Agency’s Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Below, you will find some of MIB’s top initiatives, followed by opportunities for PPE manufacturers, federal and state funding options, additional funds worth considering for Baltimore businesses, and resources for e-commerce. We will add to this post as we receive more resources to share with our members. Updated May 20, 11:30.
COVID-19 Small Business Impact Survey
Made In Baltimore has been working closely with our partners at Impact Hub, Innovation Works, Open Works, and BCAN to coordinate an effective response to this rapidly changing situation that prioritize the needs of our local small business network.
We’ve developed an impact survey to better understand what you need right now, as well in the coming months, so that we can target assistance with laser focus where it is most critical. We will use this information to advocate for funding, technical assistance, and resources to address any other needs you report.
Please complete the survey as soon as you can. To find it, click here.
MIB’s Home Sewing Network
Thank you to our members, friends and neighbors who have made themselves available to participate in a network of home-based sewers producing masks, gowns and other PPE critical to support healthcare providers responding to COVID-19 in our city! We’ve had an outstanding response, with a growing network of over 130 home-based sewers contributing to hundreds of items to collections coordinated by our friends at Domesticity and Station North Tool Library.
If you’re interested in joining this initiative, please fill out this form.
BDC Small Business Assistance Fund Grants
The Baltimore Development Corporation is now accepting grant applications for the Small Business Assistance Fund until May 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $15,000. Grants WILL NOT BE AWARDED ON A FIRST-COME FIRST- SERVED BASIS. All applications received during the Grant Application Period will be considered. Any applications received after the end date will not be considered.
You can find the application on the Baltimore Together homepage, or go directly to the form here. The BDC has created the following documents with information about this grant fund: Terms and Conditions, Eligibility, and Required Documentation.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Manufacturing Fund
After our initial success granting $50,000 to local manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), Mayor Jack Young authorized the replenishment of that fund with an additional $100,000!
Applications to this fund are NOW OPEN through May 9. You can find more info and apply right here. To be eligible, businesses must be manufacturing PPE in Baltimore City. Businesses can request up to $15,000 to off-set costs associated with equipment, materials, or labor in the production of needed PPE.
Congratulations to our members who received the first grants available through this fund: SewLab USA, Quality Mask Supply, Custom 3D Stuff, Will’s Printing Co., Mount Royal Soap Co., Louthan Distilling, and Citywide Youth Development.
If you have questions about applying for this fund, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Opportunities for PPE Manufacturers
In addition to the BDC’s $50,000 grant fund mentioned above, we want to point our members to other ways they can connect with PPE production incentives to help meet demand for this critical need from hospitals and healthcare workers.
Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund — This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers.
Open Works Makers Unite! Face Shield Project — Open Works has launched a collaborative project to 3D print face shields. They welcome help from any members with access to 3D printers. Learn more here.
Maryland Made to Save Lives — The Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland is building a network of Maryland manufacturing companies making components, technologies, materials and products needed for the medical supply chain to fight COVID-19. Learn more here.
Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) — COVID-19: HOW CAN YOU HELP? Similar to the above, any companies seeking to meet the demand for medical equipment should contact MEP. Learn more here.
We know filling out multiple intake forms can feel repetitive, but registering your information with a wider range of organizations will increase your chances of plugging into opportunities for small businesses able to offer this critical support.
CARES Act Provisions for Small Businesses
A historic $2 trillion economic relief package known as the CARES Act recently made its way through Congress, with funding for small businesses administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, has shared a breakdown of CARES Act resources for small business owners with all the information you need to know. Read this guide here.
Paycheck Protection Program — MAY 15: LOAN FORGIVENESS
The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. Read more and get your hands on the application here.
LISC PPP Loan Process — Beginning this week (of May 17), LISC has offered to work with our network to extend PPP loans to sole proprietors, small firms, and nonprofits that have not already applied for PPP. They have more than $50 million to lend nationwide and do not anticipate reaching their limit. To get more info and apply, check out this one-pager.
Lendistry Paycheck Protection Program Fund — The City of Baltimore announced a partnership with Goldman Sachs and Lendistry to provide $10 million in potentially forgivable SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans to help vulnerable Baltimore City small businesses, including non-profit organizations, weather the economic impact of COVID-19. Apply here.
Reinvestment Fund — Reinvestment Fund’s PPP program provides up to $25 million in total loans, with a maximum of $200,000 per loan. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. Apply here.
Federal and State Emergency Relief
The Maryland Health Connect is conducting an emergency special open enrollment period through June 15. If healthcare is a concern for you or your business, find more information here. Apply by May 15 for coverage starting June 1.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses. To find more information on disaster loans, click here. You can also download a guide to securing these loans here. The SBA’s website also includes a helpful guide to additional resources for business owners and employers, which you can find here. To learn more about the SBA’s debt relief in response to COVID-19, click here.
UPDATE 4/06 — As with PPP, the SBA is currently unable to accept applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans due to a lapse in appropriations.
The Maryland Department of Labor has launched a COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. Find more information here.
UPDATE — Due to the volume of requests, the Department of Labor is currently unable to accept new applications.
The Maryland Department of Commerce currently offers these key options for small business owners:
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund — Loans up to $50,000 (not to exceed three months of cash operating expenses) open to Maryland businesses impacted by the COVID-19 with fewer than 50 employees.
Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund — Grants up to $10,000 (not to exceed three months of cash operating expenses) for Maryland businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 with fewer than 50 employees.
UPDATE 4/06 — Due to the volume of requests, the Department of Commerce is currently unable to accept new applications for its grant and loan funds.
We recommend staying up to date with Maryland’s COVID-19 response for small businesses. Find this information online here, and subscribe to get updates as they are released.
More Options for Baltimore Businesses
Other relief funding—
Save Small Business Fund — A grantmaking initiative from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. Applications for $5,000 grants will go live on April 20 at 12:00 p.m. PT. Learn more here.
Baltimore Artist Emergency Relief Fund — A coalition-led initiative designed to provide direct assistance to Baltimore-based artists and creative entrepreneurs who have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis. This fund offers one-time grants of $500 to artists demonstrating a need for emergency financial relief. Find more information and apply here.
Artist Relief — A national collaboration of funders and facilitators, the Artist Relief fund will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19. Learn more here.
Expanded Kiva Loan Program — Loan fundraising platform Kiva is making its 0% interest loans more accessible to small businesses impacted by COVD-19, with expanded eligibility, larger loans, and a grace period for new borrowers. Read more about these updates here.
Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund — Verizon and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering to offer grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and enterprises from historically underserved communities who may not have access to flexible capital. Learn more here. Update 4/04: Applications for round one of funding are closed, but you can register for a second round beginning later this month.
Flying Cloud Fulfillment — This local eCommerce fulfillment center is currently offering at-cost postage services to Made In Baltimore members. No fulfillment costs, no storage fees, no cost for boxes and mailers, and no account management fees. Just postage. They are eager to support small businesses who may be transitioning heavily to e-commerce. Interested businesses should contact Chris Myers at email@example.com.
Anytown USA — This online marketplace website features only American-made products, and strives for an assortment of high quality goods that offer variety and interest for their shoppers. They also collect and remit sales tax for products sold on the site to the appropriate taxing authorities, so sellers don’t have to deal with all that. For a brief breakdown of AnytownUSA’s seller fee structure, click here. To learn more and become a seller, click here.
While we work together to adjust to new ways of doing business, we at Made In Baltimore will keep our energy focused on responding effectively to the needs of our members. Please take our survey (again, find it here), but do not hesitate to get in touch if you have questions, concerns, or ideas for us — we always want to know how we can best help you. Meanwhile, we sincerely hope you and your loved ones keep safe.