Technical assistance

Michelle Deal-Zimmerman: Our hopes for Baltimore in the new year | REMARK

As a recent transplant, I’m grateful to have landed in Baltimore and found a community of like-minded people who think big and believe big things are possible. I love energy and enthusiasm, although I’m not all sunshine and rainbows. I see the challenges of divestment, education, housing, and racial disparity, but I’ve learned that magic can happen if we create the right conditions. Although the pandemic has challenged us and infiltrated everything we do, it has also encouraged us to become more creative in dealing with daily circumstances and to make new choices. The choices created by the Great Resignation are the most encouraging, namely the boom in new start-ups. For example, in 2021, the number of new business applications in Maryland increased by 42% compared to the same period in 2019. So where is the magic in Baltimore? It’s in the more than 57 new retail businesses that have opened or announced in Southwest Baltimore. It’s in the Baltimore Small Business Support Fund, which provides technical assistance and capital to small businesses rooted in predominantly black communities. And it’s under a public-private partnership that has helped stave off disaster for more than 2,000 businesses after stay-at-home orders and social distancing changed the way people spend money. We have learned to be more resourceful, creative and independent.