When I started Sinuate Media at the age of 24 years old, I had just moved to Baltimore a few months earlier. From the start, I always thought that it “felt right” to start a business there, that Baltimore was a good place to start a businesses — especially for a young entrepreneur. What I was setting out to do wasn’t rocket science — way back then, we called it “internet marketing” — but it was new and I knew no one. After a while, that didn’t matter because I quickly became part of the businesses community, and was off and running.
Today there was an article on Forbes.com about the top 10 cities for young entrepreneurs to start businesses. Baltimore is not on it. That is unfortunate, because I would recommend starting a business in Baltimore to any young founder.
Here’s are 10 reasons I thought starting a business in Baltimore was the right move:
- The cost of living in Baltimore was cheaper in NYC, where I had just moved from — that meant that my start-up capital would take me farther and last longer, which is critical for a start-up.
- Baltimore is close enough to other major cities (NYC, Philly, DC) that you can get there in a day trip by train or driving, if needed. I did that A LOT.
- Baltimore is both big enough and small enough of a city. Big enough to have the resources you need to start a business. Small enough that you get to know people and not feeling like you are drowned out, by the competition or otherwise.
- There are approximately 55 colleges and universities in Maryland (with plenty accessible from Baltimore). That means there are plenty of students looking for internships, graduates looking for jobs, speaking opportunities for classes, professors to meet & collaborate with, continuing education classes to take, and opportunities to become a mentor — all of which I benefited from being in Baltimore.
- Baltimore is a budding creative environment — I found this to be especially true in the years I lived there, with the start of the revitalization of Station North District.
- Baltimore is a budding technology environment. Just look around at the technology companies that have sprouted over the last 5-10 years. There are some powerhouse techpreneurs in the Baltimore region. Dave Troy, Tom Loveland, Mario Armstrong, Greg Cangialosi are just a few.
- There are several co-working spaces (like Beehive Baltimore) and incubator programs (like the ETC) available, which is good for both cutting start up costs and for connecting with other entrepreneurs
- There are a ton of networking opportunities — into technology? There’s the Greater Baltimore Technology Council. Looking to connect with C-Level people? There are SmartCEO events all the time & even specific groups for that. Want to network with other women business owners? Try NAWBO. Dozens of other niche groups exist, including KoffeeTalk, BNI, BON, the Chamber (both the city & state), and the stellar MDSG.
- The Baltimore Metro Region is a hotbed of intellectual capital — technology, science, government, other business founders are all at your fingertips, not to mention lawyers, bankers, and consultants of every sort.
- The business community wants to make Baltimore a better place to do business. They want businesses to start there. They want to bring in new technology. There is a “hometown” pride in celebrating a “Baltimore business” – from Under Armor down to a 1-man or woman startup. If your story becomes a success story, there will be an entire city behind you rooting and celebrating with you, because you are a Baltimore business. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten that feeling from anywhere else I’ve lived.
Even though we no longer live in Baltimore, unfortunately, I will always consider that Sinuate Media is Baltimore born and bred, and I’m grateful for the experience I had of starting a business there.