According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the new assistance package was announced by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation, includes funding for micro loans, grants and training. Contreras-Sweet also pledged to emphasize technical assistance, entrepreneurial development and government contracting in Baltimore.
She expressed hope the new efforts will help businesses rebuild and also improve Baltimore’s economy in the long run. “This is leverage that we can use to attract more investment, more partnerships, more financial institutions, more contracts,” Contreras-Sweet said in a statement.
The package comes as the SBA tries to increase interest in previously available low-interest disaster loans, reports the Baltimore Business Journal. Those loans became available May 11, but SBA representatives have said they would like to see more inquiries about them. They allow companies to borrow up to $2 million for repairing or replacing damaged real estate, equipment and inventory.
The Baltimore Development Corp. has estimated more than 380 businesses were damaged in the rioting, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. Members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation cast the latest SBA package as a key part of recovery efforts. U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings reportedly stated that efforts in Baltimore could set national precedents for development and job creation.