Small businesses often lack access to tools and resources that support growth and sustainability. By broadening their access to capital and offering workforce development opportunities, we hope to enable job and wealth creation.
Of the nearly 40,000 small businesses in Baltimore City, there are approximately 12,000 small businesses that are considered disadvantaged–those in need of advice, support, and alternative funding. These small businesses are frequently run by entrepreneurs who lack the resources–such as a strong professional network and access to capital–that are required to successfully grow their businesses.
We aim to stimulate economic growth by providing disadvantaged small businesses with development opportunities, focusing particularly on growth-oriented start-ups and early-stage businesses.
We hope to support hundreds of businesses over the next three years. Our BLocal Business Mentoring program complements our existing long-term initiatives to support Baltimore, including a $1.3 million grant from the T. Rowe Price Foundation to strengthen West Baltimore. While we have a longstanding history of giving and serving in the community, we have increased our efforts focused on Baltimore since the unrest in the city in April 2015 in an effort to address some of the underlying issues.
Through partnerships with Kiva, a global microloan platform that crowdfunds 0% interest loans to underserved entrepreneurs, and the Baltimore Development Corporation’s Small Business Resource Center (SBRC), our associates will provide pro bono services to assist select businesses in the areas of marketing, technology, finance, communications, and legal services.
We will use our partnerships with Kiva and SBRC to facilitate lending to these small businesses. The T. Rowe Price Foundation, alongside other local funders, is providing a two-year $215,000 grant to Kiva, enabling them to launch Kiva City Baltimore and establish a local presence. In addition, T. Rowe Price will give $225,000 over three years to SBRC to fund a full-time position at SBRC to provide the infrastructure needed to increase the number of small business loans.
T. Rowe Price has called Baltimore its hometown since its founding in 1937. We currently employ over 4,300 associates in the Baltimore metropolitan area, mostly in highly skilled positions. We encourage a culture of giving and serving by providing programs that include offering our associates one workday per year to volunteer in the community and matching their charitable contributions. In 2015, our associates volunteered more than 43,000 hours in the greater Baltimore community.
Over the past 10 years, the T. Rowe Price Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in direct grants to Baltimore nonprofits focused on improving educational outcomes for city youth, helping individuals secure and retain employment, and providing basic needs to families in crisis.
T. Rowe Price is committed to continuing its support of Baltimore. We have signed a lease to maintain our headquarters on Pratt Street through 2027. We recognize the deep connection between the growth and development of our business and the wellbeing of our community.
Proud to be Baltimore is a registered trademark of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.