Impact Village: Port Covington offers free office space for small businesses and nonprofits


On one side of southern Baltimore Port Covington, the cranes are constructing new buildings where the developers aim to house businesses and residents looking to settle in the area.

On the other side of the peninsula, hidden behind the bus garage that has become a technology and manufacturing center at City garage, the buildings that once housed industry and operations are already operational with companies and organizations, with a purpose.

Impact Village is home to refurbished offices, training spaces and workshops designed to provide a home for small businesses and nonprofits working to help the city. It offers free space and provides resources like Wi-Fi, messaging, and security. The space offers a mix of shared offices and meeting rooms, as well as spaces dedicated to nonprofits like the Social Impact Startup Accelerator. Conscious Business Lab, non-profit costume outfitter Pointed dressed man and carpentry training program Sandtown Mill.

“Not only are we building a world-class destination that will be full of life and vibrancy,” said Marc Broady, vice-president of community affairs at à Weller Development, who is the lead developer for Port Covington, at an event to officially launch Impact Village on Thursday. “But we’re also here to celebrate the use of this space, which we could have used for a lot of different things. But we’ve chosen to use it to help small businesses, organizations, and businesses grow, thrive, and move forward. “

The idea is for nonprofits and fledgling social businesses to take up space without having to worry about rent and overhead, and connect with others who can provide the resources to grow.

“We know that when we empower our local businesses, our minority-owned businesses and our women-owned businesses, they empower communities that reflect us all,” said the city council president. Nick mosby. “You see, individually we can do great things, but collectively we can forever change the city of Baltimore and some of the systemic issues plaguing the city of Baltimore, and that’s exactly what this coworking space is designed for. to do. “

Going beyond the village for a larger HQ is a mark of success. This is what happened with City-wide youth development, which moved into space in 2017 before it became the Impact Village. The organization provides solutions to crime and poverty through manufacturing and entrepreneurial skills. As the first space tenant, founder Rasheed Aziz stated that he was able to develop the systems behind social enterprises like Frozen desert sorbet and Made in Bmore Clothes. He also formed partnerships around town, and at the onset of the pandemic he made gowns and masks for first responders for the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Now Citywide Youth Development manages the EMAGE Center, which fills its own space on North Avenue in West Baltimore with corporate ventures.

CityWide Youth Development founder Rasheed Aziz. (Courtesy photo)

“The resource production that we should have gone into would have been absolutely great for a small organization without having access to the space we needed to scale,” said Aziz. “They gave us all the space we needed.”

Sharp Dressed Man has had a number of hubs and locations over the years their head office has worked to outfit men with suits for job interviews and workforce preparation. Outside Impact Village, it will have a space for tailoring and the personalized style it offers.

“It really started out from a few garbage bags of clothing, and it’s grown where we’ve been on average for the past two years, even during COVID, fitting 2,000 guys a year,” Founder Christophe Schafer noted; in all, 10,000 people rained. Impact Village also has a space for Dress for Success Greater Baltimore, which dresses women in business attire.

At the inauguration of the village of Impact. (Courtesy photo)

The flagship company of Impact Village is Conscious Venture Lab. The Baltimore City-based accelerator and venture capital fund have supported more than 200 startups that measure social good success as well as profits, many of which are women and owned by BIPOC. This will help more from a dedicated open office space inside the facility.

“The energy around Baltimore is palpable these days,” said founder Jeff Cherry, “and this installation is really just another example of how this city comes together to create a fairer, happier, more equitable and more prosperous city for all of us.”

Here’s a look at the rest of the businesses inside Impact Village, with descriptions of Port Covington:

  • Jobs of Choice (UMBC): The Choice program believes in the power and potential of all young people. UMBC’s Choice program provides engaging programming, connection to resources, and holistic support to youth in communities in central Maryland.
  • Mom cares serves underfunded mothers with NICU experience in Baltimore City by providing postpartum doula care, including transportation, child care, advocacy, self-care opportunities and nutritious meals to mothers and their families.
  • Murphy Enterprises is a company committed to community impact, workforce development, supplier / supplier inclusion and sustainability. The companies in their portfolio are anchored by a commitment to community and the development of a stronger Baltimore.
  • Awakening grounds is a mission-driven coffee shop and community gathering space that will create stronger communities for veterans and military affiliates in Baltimore by providing personalized support, resources and care.
  • Sandtown Mill creates functional and durable furniture from reclaimed wood and locally reclaimed materials in Baltimore. Their fundamental belief is that something beautiful can be made locally from materials otherwise destined for landfill.
  • Stanley snacks for schoolchildren is a nonprofit organization that provides snacks to public schools in the Baltimore metro area for food insecure and hungry children. All snacks are sourced from manufacturers and grocery stores, packaged and sealed.
  • The Arts Project Inc is a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing young people to creative avenues of artistic expression. It organizes various sessions, events and trips encouraging young people to tap into their creativity.
  • Wolf Professional Security Inc. is a privately held security and investigation company, serving the security needs of Port Covington businesses including Impact Village, City Garage, Weller Development Company and Baltimore Sun.
  • Port Covington Workforce Opportunity Center focuses on placement related to employment opportunities in the Port Covington development, primarily serving residents of Baltimore City.

Here are more photos of Impact Village:

House dress for success. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Classroom space at Impact Village. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The Sharp Dressed Man Costume Collection (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

In the Sandtown Millworks space. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Ribbon cutting at Impact Village. (Courtesy photo)



Margie D. Carlisle