ESHIP BALTIMORE ENGAGED ENTREPRENEURS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS IN A COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO CULTIVATE THE CREATIVITY, INNOVATION, AND LEADERSHIP OF BLACK BALTIMORE AS A MODEL FOR THRIVING EQUITABLE ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE.
The work of Baltimore’s local council focused on the development of a culturally-grounded ecosystem model that prioritizes the assets and leadership within the Black community, with the support of allied partners. Elements of the two-year program included the formation of a local council, storytelling, research and community-led pilot programs to amplify community assets and address emerging barriers.
BLACK BUTTERFLY EXCHANGE
The ESHIP Communities Baltimore Stewardship Council spent two years planning for the launch of the Black Butterfly Network and the associated Black Butterfly Exchange, a comprehensive platform for information and support for Baltimore's Black-owned businesses. Funded by the T. Rowe Price Foundation and the Open Society Institute - Baltimore — and aligned with, supported, and funded in part by ESHIP Communities — the Black Butterfly Network exists to put wind under the wings of Black business owners across the City with free resources, training, educational materials, one-on-one support, and an ever-growing business directory that can be accessed by the public to easily find and patronize Black businesses in Baltimore.
An inaugural Black Butterfly cohort program successfully launched in 2021, with the second cohort launching in early 2022. Bianca Brown, owner of The Bee’s Knees Organics, and Pioneer Cohort member said, “I am committed to full engagement in the Black Butterfly because I am excited about being a part of a community willing to pour into not only me and my small business, but to the other selected businesses. We will all be a part of a community that has information and resources directed at helping us all thrive. Someone saw something in me and my business and I would love to be able to pay that forward and help others with the knowledge that I gain.”
Truth telling project
The Truth Telling Project serves as a documentation of the history, present, and future for Black entrepreneurs in Baltimore. It shares the perspectives of some of the dynamic and committed ESHIP Baltimore council members on how we will work collectively to cultivate the creativity, innovation, and leadership of Black Baltimore as a model for thriving equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems of the future.
VIEW PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
The assessment process, involving both qualitative and quantitative data collection, is designed to increase ecosstakeholder understanding of the entrepreneurial assets, barriers, and opportunities that exist in a given ecosystem. Having a data-informed perspective ensures that actions intended to fortify the ecosystem, whether through programmatic efforts or other means, are guided by sound justification.
Essential in this process is a need to center those people most impacted by the barriers identified, ensuring that the ultimate goal is to use the data to inform practices to alleviate those barriers and create a greater chance of success for the identified target population. The purpose of the Research Summary is to inform the local council on the latest ecosystem data available as they support and form current and future pathfinder projects to solve for those identified barriers.
Meet Our Council
Get to know the power behind the work! Meet our group of council members who made our local efforts happen.
Cohado is an innovative and flexible platform to support collaboration, sustainability and inclusive team- and community-development. Cohado, Inc. additionally facilitates the development of diverse startup communities nationally and locally in Baltimore. In collaboration with the Kauffman Foundation’s ESHIP Communities and Forward Cities, Cohado, Inc. is stewarding the ESHIP Baltimore initiative to support the stabilization, ideation, seeding and growth of Black business in Baltimore. This initiative engages entrepreneurs and community leaders in a collective impact effort to cultivate the creativity, innovation, and leadership of Black Baltimore as a model for thriving equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems of the future.
This Kauffman Foundation initiative was led by a collaborative council of individuals who represent different stakeholders from across the community. Forward Cities managed the implementation of this effort as a grantee of the Kauffman Foundation.