On Friday June 24, Made In Baltimore hosted our second annual Town Hall event at Impact Hub Baltimore. The event was an opportunity for our members to meet the MIB Team, learn about what we’ve been working on, and connect with each other about pressing issues facing Baltimore’s ‘maker economy’. Oh, and let’s not forget: big thanks to Taharka Brothers for providing the ice cream happy hour!
Dozens of MIB member businesses turned out to connect, learn, and share their stories. Did you miss it? Check out the presentation we gave here, and read below for notes from our break out groups.
In the second hour of the Town Hall, attendees split up into small groups to discuss three big topics: Workforce, Marketing, and Access To Capital for small manufacturing businesses. The below are notes from those conversations:
- The most needed skills MIB members say they are looking for in new hires are good communication skills, math/analytical skills, and good customer service skills.
- The primary challenge they expressed was navigating the complexities of Maryland labor laws.
- Something they’d like to see are better pipelines from Baltimore City high schools to internships with their companies. Also, more interaction with Baltimore City government agencies to assist with hiring needs
- Some things they’d like to have are templates for hiring procedures/standard operating procedures/job descriptions
- Tip: Consider listing your job openings on the MIB Job Board!
- Tip: Explore the programs that the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) has to help you find employees. Especially don’t miss their Small, Minority, and Woman-Owned Business Wage Subsidy program!
- MIB members expressed a desire for more peer-to-peer communication about marketing solutions, perhaps via a private Facebook group
- Something they’d like to see is more assistance learning how to create ‘good ads’
- A resource shared was Zach Spuckler’s Heart, Soul, and Hustle workshop
- Topics they’d like to learn more about are customer retention and deciding on the best social media platform for your business
- Tip: Check out MIB’s various online marketing workshops on our Youtube Channel!
- Tip: Consider applying to Impact Hub and GoDaddy’s Empower Baltimore program!
Access to Capital
- Participants discussed the difference between grants, loans, and equity investment
- Participants discussed a ladder of capital access providers, beginning with programs like Kiva and other crowdfunding platforms for early-stage companies, moving onto CDFI’s like LEDC, Baltimore Community Lending, and Meridian Management Group for growing companies, and finally, government and bank lenders like Baltimore Development Corporation and M&T Bank for established businesses ready to scale. If your business has a social mission, don’t miss Innovation Works’ Ignite Capital program!
- Participants learned about upcoming funding and real estate opportunities through the Baltimore BASE Network, Project Restore, and Vacants to Value.
- Tip: Check out MIB’s Access to Capital online workshops: one with Baltimore Community Lending and BDC; one with LEDC and Paperstack.