Second Community Conversations Event Addresses Business In Baltimore

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“Entrepreneurship can be lonely,” said Andy Cook from Made in Baltimore. “Entrepreneurs often have their heads down, just working on their businesses…but that’s why we have events [like this] because when they see that they can be a part of a community, it motivates them.”

Baltimore Times Community Conversations Series

Dr. David Marshall

Baltimore Times Community Conversations Series

Cook was one of eight speakers who shared ideas at The Impact Hub on February 29, 2020, for part two of The Baltimore Times Community Conversations Series. For three hours, entrepreneurs and leaders of organizations that support them convened for the event, called “Baltimore’s Gems: Doing Business in Baltimore.”

Jerome Stevens and Joy Bramble

Dr. David Marshall

Jerome Stevens and Joy Bramble

Other speakers included Dominick Davis and Steven White, owners of Baltimore-based clothing manufacturer DIFFERENTREGARD; Brandon Wylie and Ashley Rock, owners of North Avenue staple floral company Fleurs d’Ave Floral Boutique; Kylie Patterson of Johns Hopkins University; Sherry Curry of PNC Bank; Mike Irving of Blue Mountain Financial; and Paul E. Taylor of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses.

Speakers shared their passions, which included helping others get started in their industries, employing teams, and preserving history in neighborhoods. They also offered advice on scaling businesses in Baltimore.

“You have to know when you are profitable,” said Paul Taylor, explaining the importance of reconciling books monthly and only seeking financing to expand your business—not to pay your bills. “Knowing your numbers will help you make the right decisions to grow your business.”

“You have to look at opportunities to leverage existing cash flow to pursue other opportunities,” added Wylie of Fleurs d’Ave Floral Boutique.

Licensed tax consultant Mike Irving, owner of Blue Mountain Financial offered advice and his services to attendees

Dr. David Marshall

Licensed tax consultant Mike Irving, owner of Blue Mountain Financial offered advice and his services to attendees

Discussion topics ranged from how to manage finances, find an attorney, and identify a co-founder.

“If you don’t have a circle of entrepreneurs— change your circle to be around other people that are likeminded,” suggested White from DIFFERENTREGARD.

Each speaker answered a question from the audience before attendees broke into “table talks” or small breakouts to continue the conversation and deepen new connections.

Everyone was encouraged to share their current projects and specify how they planned to stay in contact with the people in their breakouts.

That portion of the event was exciting for Latina Harris, a spiritual life coach and transformational speaker.

“As entrepreneurs, we have seasons of isolation and you think it’s just you, but everyone is going through this,” she said. “I felt like the connections I made here were on point. Everyone was willing to open up and share their knowledge.”

Relationship-building with potential partners and customers was a recurrent theme throughout the event.

“Remember you aren’t alone,” said Kylie Patterson of Johns Hopkins University. “There are resources available to help you grow…if your business grows, Baltimore grows.”

Steven White said that three years ago, he decided to challenge his introversion to tell his story and network more frequently. “It has led to so many different opportunities,” he said, citing article features and speaking engagements.

Latina Harris, an attendee, said she was thrilled by the energy of the event. “I’m leaving here amped up, excited and ready to implement all the great things that I heard from the panelists today.”

‘RESOURCE LIST’ PROVIDED AT EVENT:

www.baltimoresourcelink.com

www.marylandcapital.org

www.kiva.org

www.baltimoredevelopment.com

www.blocalbaltimore.org

hopkinlocal.jhu.edu

buylocal@jhu.edu