Baltimore is a city-to use a popular catch phrase of urban planners-“in transition.” Many of Baltimore’s once mighty industries are gone. The city itself has struggled with unemployment and a declining population. More than 21 percent of city residents live below the poverty line, while 16.4 percent of the population receives some type of public assistance. An astounding 46.1 percent of Baltimore households are headed by one parent, the fifth highest ranking among American cities.1
Despite these depressing statistics, Baltimore during the early 1980s witnessed somewhat of a renaissance, spurred by the development of the Inner Harbor area into a major tourist attraction with shopping and a world-class aquarium. Furthermore, in 1992, the City opened the much-praised, “old-style” Camden Yards baseball park, home of the Baltimore Orioles.
In the City’s and State’s zeal to promote tourism, attract sports franchises, and revitalize business through public/private partnerships, Baltimore’s proud history of local entrepreneurship and small enterprise has, for the most part, been overlooked. This report addresses the state of entry-level entrepreneurship in the City of Baltimore. The report focuses primarily on the following entry-level areas: vending (including Baltimore’s threatened tradition of “arabbing”); newsstand operation; hairbraiding and cosmetology; vehicle-for-hire services (taxis, limousines and vans); child-care centers; trash-removal services; and home-based businesses. Many small enterprises-in such areas as vending, newsstand operation, taxicab service, and garbage collection-face oppressive government regulation or even outright prohibition. This report calls on the City not to lose sight of these industrious, small-scale entrepreneurs struggling to survive in a changing Baltimore.