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Baltimore may be known for its professional football and baseball teams, but it is also a city that touts a franchise of entrepreneurs.

On Saturday, September 18, 2021, a major league expo is taking place that will allow attendees to support this local pool of talent. The event is called the “Baltimore Makers Marketplace,” and is being presented by Times Community Services, Inc., and The Baltimore Times, in collaboration with The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), the Coppin State University Center for Strategic and MCB Real Estate, LLC.

The event will take place 10 a.m. –4 p.m. in the J. Millard Tawes Building, and will feature products made and sold by Baltimore-based businesses. Coppin State University is located at 2500 W. North Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland 21216.

Paris Brown is the founder/CEO of Catalyst Enterprises, the African American Shopping Network, Inc., and Black Boutique TV.

“Times Community Services has been a long-time supporter of small and community-based businesses,” said Brown, who is also one of the event’s organizers. “Now, more than ever, it is important to support our local business economy. These businesses have invested in Baltimore, and we want people to know them. This event will showcase their business, encourage local buying, and create what we hope is an annual event that supports the growth and sustainability of local businesses.”

Times Community Services, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of The Baltimore Times.

“The Baltimore Times is ecstatic to collaborate with the Baltimore Development Corporation, Coppin State University, and Catalyst Enterprises and MCB Real Estate to present this event,” said Joy Bramble, founder and publisher of The Baltimore Times. “We are always seeking ways to highlight and support local businesses. This event presents a phenomenal opportunity to bring together entrepreneurs and consumers in a way that ultimately benefits our local economy.”

Dr. Ronald C. Williams is the founding Director of the Coppin State University Cener for Strategic Entrepreneurship.

“This event presents an opportunity for more people to learn about the involvement of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the maker movement,” said Dr. Williams. “We are happy to partner with The Baltimore Times for this event. Black people have always been makers. It’s vital in the whole job creation element of what to do as a College of Business. There is a big need to re-shore manufacturing in this country. It’s an economic security issue.”

He added, “Legislation coming down the pike at the federal level has carved out for HBCUs, the critical nature of the maker movement chain and Coppin can be on the forefront of all of that. Coppin is a community-centered university. This event allows us to use our space for the purpose of inviting the community in.”

The Baltimore Development Corporation is the economic development agency for the city of Baltimore. The BDC’s programs include “Made in Baltimore,” a community ofmanufacturers, retailers and maker spaces working together to create and promote locally-made products. Made in Baltimore has a growing network of over 200 product-based businesses ranging from home-based maker to large scale manufacturer. Many of them will be selling their products at the Baltimore Maker’s Marketplace.

“This is our first big public event since COVID, so we are really excited to be out in the world and face-to-face with people and doing in-person sales,” said Andy Cook, Executive Director of Made in Baltimore. “A lot are small businesses that rely on craft shows and other vender opportunities to make their revenue, and a lot of them suffered loss over the past year.”

Made in Baltimore supports businesses through a variety of services including free business development workshops and resources, print and media campaigns, connections with large institutions and universities, and ongoing work to advance policy for urban manufacturing. Through such efforts, which also include free business certification, Made In Baltimore works to elevate makers and manufacturers in the city of Baltimore.

“Our goal is to get Baltimore to focus their consumer spending on products made in Baltimore,” said Cook.

“Spending in our city helps to revitalize neighborhoods and builds community wealth in our city. It’s about getting consumers to buy locally and invest in our communities.”

Cook founded The Made In Baltimore program at the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

“The goal is to see among the businesses we work with, an increase in jobs, revenue, and space being used for those businesses to manufacture products made in Baltimore,” said Cook. “Those metrics all point to a greater maker economy which we believe creates good living wage jobs for Baltimoreans and help reinvigorate blighted areas in our city.”

He added, “Everyone roots for the Ravens and Orioles, and our message is the same. Be proud of the city and the products being made here.”

For more information about the Baltimore Maker’s Marketplace, visit http://baltimoretimes-online.com/

Andy Cook

Andy Cook, Executive Director of Made in Baltimore. Courtesy Photo