Financing Baltimore’s Growth: Measuring Small Companies’ Access to Capital

 In Research

Baltimore has the potential to be a city that is truly hospitable to small business growth, with all the economic benefits of jobs and tax revenue such growth would bring. But for new and established small businesses to thrive, the city needs a financing system with capacity to meet their needs.

Capital is certainly not the only ingredient necessary for successful business growth, but it is a critical input. If companies lack access to appropriate types of capital at critical stages of growth, they are likely to never take off and achieve scale, or even worse, to go out of business or leave Baltimore and relocate where financial support is more readily available, depriving the local economy of jobs and economic growth.

To better understand Baltimore’s financing system and the flow of capital to small businesses, the 21st Century Cities Initiative at John Hopkins University embarked on this project to answer the following questions:

  • What are the sources and amounts of financial investments, both private and public, going to small businesses in Baltimore?
  • How much capital is from local sources versus regional or national sources?
  • Where are there gaps in financing in terms of types of capital and funding amount ranges?
  • Are successful businesses leaving Baltimore because they can’t access adequate growth capital?

The report outlines key recommendations for improving financing for local small businesses and startups, including:

  • better measurement and tracking of capital flows and businesses
  • more concerted efforts to match businesses with investors
  • enhancements to local lending capacity
  • expansion of the range of financial institutions in Baltimore.
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