Many Black entrepreneurs and farmers center social justice in what they do. The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator - Maryland Black Farmers is an effort to identify and support Black farmers in Maryland to create business solutions to social and economic challenges impacting the communities we serve and increase access to healthy foods. As a result, they have the potential to change behaviors, expand access to resources and improve the long-term health of all people in Maryland.
Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients and finalists
Five candidates competed for up to $72,000 in grant funding. Learn more about the candidates
“In the process of reworking my low-fidelity prototype, the Business Accelerator helped me realize CodaBax's greater potential. There has been more than one wow moment as I worked through it. I cannot wait to see what our impact will be three and five years from now.”
— Crystal Levine, Empowered to Serve Maryland Black Farmers candidate
This impressive panel of executives served as judges during the finale on February 7.
Head of DE&I for Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Janet S. Currie
President, Bank of America Greater Maryland
Larry L. Johnson
Chairman, AHA Baltimore & Greater Maryland Division Board of Directors
Scroll to browse photos from the Maryland Black Farmers Business Accelerator Finale Showcase.
Several factors contribute to disparities, including federal programs and policies that exclude Black people from land purchases and limited access to capital through discriminatory lending practices.
of Maryland farmers are Black
of total Maryland farm sales are from Black farmers
Selected candidates will:
Receive four to six weeks of training in business and brand storytelling.
Refine their business story and presentation in a cohort with other Maryland Black farmers.
- Share their business story at an in-person event in Maryland for a chance at $72,000 in grant funding.
Who can apply?
- Be a U.S. citizen 18 years or older.
- Be the founder, CEO or someone authorized to make changes to the business or project.
- Be a Black farmer.
- Have an office in the Maryland market and affect a community within that market.
- Address one or more categories of the social determinants of health.
- Have an innovation that improves health or social/economic inequities.
- Be available during crucial accelerator dates.
- Be a profit or nonprofit that focuses on digital health and social impact.
Application period: Aug. 21 – Oct. 2, 2023
Top candidates notified by: Oct. 30, 2023
Training: Nov. 8, 2023 – Jan. 16, 2024
Building Brand Story: Jan. 17 – Feb. 7, 2024
Finale: Feb. 7, 2024