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Carey’s Community Impact Fund continues to invest in Baltimore-area businesses

Why it matters:

Carey Business School supports minority-owned small businesses operating in the Baltimore area through the school’s Community Impact Fund.

For the second year in a row, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School is supporting local minority-owned small businesses operating in the Baltimore area through the school’s Community Impact Fund. Carey’s Community Impact Fund awards grants to helps owners to grow their businesses and continue to make a difference in their communities.

“The Community Impact Fund is the Carey Business School’s direct investment into the greater Baltimore economic system by the way of small business owners,” said Tracy Akinade, associate director for Community Engagement and Economic Impact at Carey Business School, and the fund’s committee chair.

Carey Business School launched its Community Impact Fund in 2021 as a means of helping small businesses struggling during the pandemic. Initially, a group of anonymous donors supported the fund to champion minority small businesses in collaboration with Carey Business School. Constellation Energy and Truist contributed additional funds. To date, 24 local businesses have used funding support for everything from employee wages to expanded marketing plans.

The most recent grant recipients represent a diverse group of businesses and services from across the region. These businesses include Infinite Focus Inc., an emotional health and wellness education company; Blank Slate, a real estate firm that provides construction, development, and management services for renovated homes; Femly, a company specializing in organic plant-based feminine hygiene products; and More Watters Co., a health and wellness company that leverages exercise and community to improve health outcomes for people with chronic conditions. Each received $7,500 to support their businesses.

Anthony Watters, a 2022 Carey Business School full-time MBA graduate, received a grant from the Community Impact Fund for his company, More Watters Inc. The grant will help support his company’s goal of bringing health services to urban communities that frequently lack access to preventive health care and other health and wellness resources. The program offered by More Watters Inc. aims to improve health measures like blood pressure, blood sugar, body weight, resting heart rate, and fitness level. In October, More Watters Inc. was named to Poets & Quants’ list of Most Disruptive Startups for 2022.

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Other awardees included City Weeds, LLC, an urban farming, and youth achievement program; Robinson Nutrition Group, a nutrition and wellness services company; Debbie’s Cuisine Catering, catering services focused on helping busy families; and Amani Nicol Wellness, which provides stress management therapy for women. Each received $5,000 in support.

But this isn’t the first time four of these businesses got a boost from a Carey program. Founders for Blank Slate, Robinson Nutrition Group, Debbie’s Cuisine Catering, and Femly previously participated in Carey’s Community Consulting Lab. The Community Consulting Lab is a business accelerator program that pairs Carey Business School students with minority-owned small-businesses in the region. Through the program, students work directly with businesses to help find innovative solutions to complex challenges.

In 2022, the Community Consulting Lab was selected by AACSB International as one of 24 Innovations That Inspire. The annual awards program recognizes institutions that serve as champions of change in the business education.

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