By Ash Jhaveri, Vice President, Business Development

Calling all Baltimore start-ups and small businesses: Community Boost is here! We’re excited to be in Charm City for the next three days to lend a hand to our local partners in this vibrant community. We hope you’ll join us today through Wednesday at the Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 W Baltimore St.) for training, networking and learning opportunities to help your business thrive.

Training for Maryland’s dynamic small businesses ecosystem

Maryland is home to nearly 600,000 small businesses that employ more than 1.1 million people across the state. When we surveyed Baltimore small business entrepreneurs, they were clear about the value that understanding digital platforms could bring to their business.

  • When we spoke to local small businesses about the important factors they look for when hiring employees, over 8 in 10 (84%) said an individual’s digital skills were important. When asked about where a candidate went to school, less than half (47%) said that was an important factor.
  • Baltimore small business owners see social media skills as critical to their success. Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) said that creating a social media presence is important to growing their businesses, but only 16% said their skills in this area were excellent.

Over the next three days we will host training to help address these needs — with courses ranging from Instagram 101 to Online Privacy to Mobile Ads. In addition, local organizations like Baltimore Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) and ENLawyers, as well as regional and national organizations like JazzHR, 1863 Ventures, and M&T Bank will offer workshops and resources on topics ranging from creating a winning recruiting strategy to how to avoid legal pitfalls when starting your small business. Whatever your interest, you’ll have many options from which to choose.

Digital learning partnerships for the long term

We’re also delighted to announce two new partnerships to celebrate the kick-off of Community Boost in Baltimore.

  • Through a new partnership with the Baltimore Small Business Resource Center, the Center will now offer general business training to local entrepreneurs throughout the year, even after the Facebook Community Boost event has ended.
  • In addition, we’re partnering with the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC)to create a digital marketing certificate program. This program will offer Baltimore business owners and job seekers access to ongoing training and preparation to compete for jobs in the digital economy.

SBRC and BCCC join such institutions as the National Urban League, Flatiron School, Austin Community College, Central New Mexico Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, Seattle Central College and many more, as we work hand-in-hand with hundreds of community organizations and universities across the country to equip 1 million people and small business owners through digital skills training by 2020.

We hope you have a chance to come say hello this week. Register for free or stay up to date with the latest city announcements, news and program schedules at fbcommunityboost.com.