In 2018, the Baltimore startup scene is more dynamic than ever

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In the past 10 years, Baltimore has consolidated its reputation as one of the friendliest areas for startups and small companies, rising to become a well-sustained hub for businesses of all types. The latest statistics place Baltimore and Maryland on the map and reveal that they hold great opportunities, especially for young entrepreneurs with an innovation-driven mindset. According to a recent study, Maryland ranks no.1 in the U.S. for minority and women businesses ownership. For every 100,000 residents, the state has 42 minority owners and 18 business ran by female CEOs. Moreover, it currently ranks third in the percentage of African-American owned firms as a share of all firms and first in the percentage of African-American owned firms with paid employees.

In 2016, businesses in Maryland received nearly $95 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration and this is one of the reasons why the state ranked #4 in the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awards for 2016.

According to the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship, Maryland is also #4 in the U.S. for the rate of startup company growth and the rate of fastest growing companies, making it a promising arena for young entrepreneurs. Thanks to its proximity to Washington, Maryland currently holds 120 of the fastest growing private companies in the United States and continues to stand out as the location for startups and innovation, especially in the tech sector. Companies like ZeroFOX, Paperless Transaction Management and Protenus not only have a high revenue potential but also forward-thinking management teams and fantastic products and brand philosophies. In October 2017, cybersecurity startup RedOwl was acquired by Forcepoint for $54 million, one of the most successful deals of the year – and such examples can go on.

Fierce competition breeds remarkable entrepreneurs

With so many new startups launched every year, Baltimore is definitely a competitive business environment where only true innovation can thrive. But, instead of being destructive for new businesses, it is precisely this competition that fuels innovation and launches ambitious projects.

Local business competitions gather young entrepreneurs from across the state looking to make a difference in the community and empower others with the help of technology. Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures, who launched Boss Up! to help minority women gain access to capital, is just one example. Another Baltimore startup blends art and technology to help amputee patients get personalized prosthetic covers that empower them, while Alovenue, founded in 2013, helps educational institutions allocate resources to their students.

Needless to say, the constant development of the Baltimore business scenes also raises the need for dedicated digital marketing solutions. In a setting where innovative businesses are launched every week, owners not only need fantastic networking skills, but also creative marketing strategies to help them gain exposure and reach as much as the local audience as possible.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do to this and some of them are free. Take web directories, for example, one of the longest standing means of promotion on the Internet, which have been around for decades and still serve many benefits for businesses looking for exposure:

  • They boost a brand’s online presence by appearing in one or more business listings.
  • Raise awareness at a local level. Local business such as restaurants, cafes or hotels have much to gain from appearing in a local web directory.
  • Improve reputation. Many business directories also feature a review system, and having a high score there will make the business look more reliable.
  • SEO boost. Due to the fact that reputable web directories have a high domain authority, a backlink from them can contribute to the company’s overall SEO strategy.

Considering Baltimore’s vibrant business scene, web directories can also be found in large numbers, but business owners need to learn how to leverage all their features in order to get results. The experts at Jasmine Directory recommend entrepreneurs to include as much information as possible and always make sure that the information is accurate so that potential clients can always get in touch with them. The ideal business listing they include details such as:

  • Name of the company and company website
  • A short description of the company – when it was founded, what products/services it offers and what makes it stand out from competitors.
  • Links to the company’s most relevant landing pages

Jasmine Directory was founded in 2009 by Robert Gombos and is headquartered in Valley Cottage, NY. It lists educational resources and businesses of public interest, which can be filtered based on business category. It is therefore very important for business owners who use this directory, or others of the same type, to choose their niche carefully.

Business directories are one way of gaining online exposure, but definitely not the only one. Digital marketing, which has become one of the fastest growing fields, also plays an essential part in business promotion. Containing practices such as social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Email marketing, and blogger outreach, an all-rounded digital marketing strategy is definitely costlier than a listing in a web directory, but it is essential for businesses who want to stand out from the crowd and make themselves known. Besides, digital marketing offers limitless creative possibilities, as is the case with Maryland’s new tourism marketing campaign, which plays on all five senses and promotes the area’s touristic hotspots.

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