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October 28, 2021
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Announcing the BOOST Incubator Program Inaugural Class

July 12, 2021

Downtown Partnership is so excited to announce the first group of entrepreneurs selected for an innovative new program to attract and support Black-owned retail businesses in Downtown Baltimore neighborhoods.

The Inaugural BOOST Class

 

The Black Genius Art Show

The Black Genius Art Show is a multi-media creative space and fashion brand owned by Bryan Robinson.

Robinson is an educator and multifaceted media artist born, raised and superhero’d in Baltimore Maryland. Under the motto “Create Everyday,”  Robinson has created hundreds of original illustrations, a collection of garments based off of his unique characters, and has an assortment of animated projects coming down the pipeline. Robinson currently works with school based programs, universities, youth groups, galleries, art initiatives and community based organizations throughout the state.

Through BOOST, Robinson will be opening a Gallery space called Genius Guice Studios in Downtown Baltimore, a fully functional art house with amenities. A one stop shop to see, wear, create and experience art.

Website | Instagram | Facebook 

The black Genius Art Show

 


 

Codetta Bake Shop

Codetta Bake Shop is a café and bakery specializing in creative desert items owned by Sumayyah Bilal and Christopher Burgess.

As a bakery, Codetta specializes in traditional American-style desserts such as cheesecake, cupcakes, buttercream cakes, ice cream, and other delicious treats. Through BOOST, Codetta is expanding to a full service eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Their menu will consist of a combination of sweet and savory items made with high quality ingredients and expert cooking techniques, available for purchase by the local weekday workforce as well as weekend brunch clientele. Codetta is hoping to become a touchstone of service, atmosphere, and high quality food for the
Downtown Baltimore community.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Codetta Bake Shop

 


 

Elite Secrets Bridal

Elite Secrets Bridal is a bridal design house and boutique owned by LaTonya Turnage.

Elite Secrets Bridal was founded in 2015 with a goal to change the bridal industry. Elite Secrets storefront is currently located in Baltimore’s esteemed Mount Vernon fashion boutique district. Founder LaTonya Turnage has been fundamental to company philosophy, through a combination of expertise and excellent service with style and grace. Elite Secrets leaves pretense to the side, focusing on bringing the best designers and emerging bridal gowns from all over the world to Baltimore Brides. Through BOOST, Elite secrets will open a second location that specializes in showcasing local bridal designers.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Elite Secrets Bridal

 


 

Media Rhythm Institute

Media Rhythm Institute is a hip-hop-inspired media space with a café and educational studio owned by Deverick Murray, Jimmie Thomas, and Tiffany Welch.

As an educational incubator, Media Rhythm Institute develops the next generation of media and entertainment industry professionals through STEAM-based workforce training, academic achievement and industry opportunities. Through BOOST, MRI plans to open a centralized creative entrpreneual hub for emerging artists. Focusing on music, media, and wellness, this creative mixed use space will highlights local art through a retail, production, and performance lens.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Media Rhythm Institute

 


 

NKVSKIN

NKVSKIN is a natural beauty company featuring both products and services owned by Nikia Vaughan.

This direct to consumer natural beauty brand offers a complete line of facial skincare products to improve the skin’s appearance and treat common concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and eczema. The Company started in 2018 with a simple facial oil product and has since grown and matured both its product line and skincare educational program. Founder Nikia Vaughan is a recognized servant leader and community advocate with a natural skincare certification and an anticipated 2021 esthetician license. Through BOOST, NKVSKIN will open up a retail location Downtown.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

NKVSKIN

 


 

The Downtown BOOST (Black-Owned & Occupied Storefront Tenancy) Program: Presented by Fearless, provides up to $50,000 in grant funding for capital and operating expenses. Businesses selected for BOOST will open a physical retail location at one of several available Downtown storefronts pre-identified by Downtown Partnership. The program also connects the businesses to a robust cohort of experts for technical, legal, accounting, and marketing advice.

 

“Today’s announcement isn’t the end our journey with these five, amazing businesses. It’s just the beginning,” said Downtown Partnership of Baltimore President, Shelonda Stokes.

“We didn’t create BOOST to check off a box and move on. We’re in it with them for the long haul because their success will create opportunities for other entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps.”

    — Shelonda Stokes

“Downtown Baltimore is our premiere business district and tourist destination, and we want it to more representative of Baltimore as a whole,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “BOOST is important because it opens a door for entrepreneurs across our city to be successful here.”

 

BOOST is presented by Fearless, the $40 million Black-owned technology company located in Downtown Baltimore. Founder and CEO, Delali Dzirasa, has long been committed to helping Black entrepreneurs and clearly sees the need for programs like BOOST.

 

“Starting a business is incredibly challenging but the barriers to success are even higher if you’re a Black-owned enterprise,” Dzirasa said. “With BOOST, we’re overcoming the structural racism that makes it harder for Black-owned businesses to access capital, attract a broad customer base, and grow generational wealth.”

Click to learn more about BOOST 

 

BOOST is Sponsored by Fearless and supported by BGE and M&T Bank. It is also supported by the Baltimore Development Corporation, Gross, Mendelsohn & Associates, the City of Baltimore Small Business Resource Center, Maryland Small Business Development Center, DLA Piper, the Greater Baltimore Urban League, Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates, Trout Daniel & Associates, and the T.Rowe Price Foundation.