Civic leaders, top academics, and business executives gather to present report on Baltimore's small business financing ecosystem.
Report on Baltimore’s Business Financing Ecosystem Draws Pres. Daniels, Mayor Pugh to Carey
Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, and Carey Business School Dean Bernard T. Ferrari were joined by top academics, regional business executives, and civic leaders at Carey’s Harbor East campus this month for the presentation and discussion of a comprehensive report analyzing the strengths and limitations of the financing ecosystem within Baltimore City.
The report, entitled “Financing Baltimore’s Growth: Measuring Small Companies’ Access to Capital,” attempts to examine and answer key questions around the sources, gaps, and availability of capital for small businesses.
Daniels said the report was an example of how Johns Hopkins can be an agent of change within the city by promoting research and ideas that can be “translated into action.”
“We can be a partner in catalyzing research that helps drive decision making about our city’s future.” Daniels said. “Research that takes a dispassionate and data-driven look at the challenges we face. … Research that can discipline debate and shape effective interventions, policies, and programs to address identified needs and amplify our city’s strengths.”
Pugh, touting her roots in business as a banker and business owner, said small businesses are “the backbone of any city, state, and of this country.”
She added: “I believe this study is comprehensive, but more importantly, it provides a pathway for you all to look at how we increase the opportunity to finance additional businesses in this city. I look forward to this report, but more importantly how we partner in the future.”
The report was produced as part of Johns Hopkins University’s 21st Century Cities Initiative, a University-wide effort that connects researchers, policymakers and practitioners to produce data-driven solutions to a variety of challenges facing modern cities. The report’s authors reached several conclusions, which can be found in the full report here. Off of this research, the authors proffered four recommendations:
- Enhance measuring, tracking, and reporting systems for capital.
- Increasing connection and conference between businesses and investors.
- Build more lending capacity via a three-pronged public and private approach.
- Expand range of financial institutions within the city.
It was crafted by three lead authors from the 21st Century Cities Initiative– Mary Miller, visiting senior fellow; Ben Siegel, executive director; and Mac McComas, program coordinator – with the help of University faculty and students, including Lindsay Thompson, associate professor at Carey and Carey students Edwin Lin and Kelvin Fu.
Ferrari said the report was “the first step” in identifying avenues to better unlock “the intellectual and human capital of this great city.”
“When I first came to Baltimore six years ago, I felt that I had come to a city, which is a unique nexus of culture, education, research, and industry, but whose business light has been a bit under a bushel,” he said. “It is time for us to let our light shine to a fuller potential.”