Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship
Consistent with the its founding mission – “To enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights”, the Greater Baltimore Urban League in partnership with the National Urban League plans to actively engage neighborhood residents, “micro-business” owners and other small business owners in low-income communities throughout Baltimore to fully examine their potential and explore opportunities to envision, create, build and expand business ventures based on their current skills, interests, assets and talents. Through the proposed – Raymond V. Haysbert Center for Entrepreneurship, they will provide education, and instruction as well as technical and management assistance for residents to pursue what for many may be their clearest path from poverty to prosperity.
The program is named for the late Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr., a former chairman of the Greater Baltimore Urban League and famed African American business and civic leader from Baltimore that took the Park Sausage Company to the New York Stock Exchange. He founded and profitably operated numerous enterprises throughout the region well into his 80’s. His philosophy for personal initiative combined with collective effort is well known throughout the community in Baltimore and was widely promoted among the city’s civic, business and political leadership.
The Haysbert Center will offer a range of programs geared to the varying needs of the entrepreneurs we hope to serve, regardless of where or how they start or have started their enterprise. From workshops and seminars to one-on-one counseling and mentoring, The Haysbert Center will support all levels of interest. A regular schedule of events will be hosted weekly and monthly at The Haysbert Center, which will be housed in the Greater Baltimore Urban League’s headquarters at the Historic Orchard Street Church. The program will present seminars throughout the community in collaboration with faith groups, schools, recreation centers and civic organizations as a means of attracting residents and entrepreneurs to more formal interaction with the center staff and consultants.
Center staff and consultants will assess needs, prescribe courses offered, provide specific services as required and make referrals to other resources partners in Baltimore as deemed appropriate to further the entrepreneurs on their path to profit.
The program will collaborate with local, state and federal small business programs and services to leverage and maximize its resources. The assistance to be provided directly through The Center is as follows:
The program will conduct seminars on a bi-monthly basis that will offer participants an overview of the advantages and opportunities related to starting and owning a small business and will promote resources available through The Center. The seminars will feature presentations from a variety of subject-matter experts on topics ranging from drafting a business plan to marketing, management, financing and expanding a small business enterprise.
The Center will conduct a series of workshops “on-site” that provide in-depth education and training in topics such as drafting a business plan, marketing and promoting your business, business management, taxes and accounting, customer service, hiring and managing employees, technology and financing your business venture.
One-On-One Counseling & Mentoring
The Haysbert Center will provide individualized consultation for entrepreneurs enrolled in the program through staff and consultants. A prerequisite to accessing these services will be that an entrepreneur has attended a seminar and successfully competed one or more workshops hosted by The Haysbert Center.
The Center will provide access to workspace, infrastructure, and equipment to owners of Micro Business Enterprises to support their ventures. These entrepreneurs will benefit from the use of office/cubicle spaces and meeting rooms on a “shared” basis with access to computers, printers/scanners and copiers. The facility will be equipped with access to broadband service for use by participants. Each entrepreneur will also have access to private voice mail and email while in the program.
Small Business Support Services
Entrepreneurs will be encouraged to access services through The Haysbert Center offered other entrepreneurs in Baltimore. Services such as printing, graphics design, website design, social media, signage and more will be provided to participants on a “discounted” basis. And based on an evaluation by The Center staff, participants may be invited to offer their services to other program participants.