BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Jack Young Friday announced the expansion of assistance and support services available to Baltimore-based businesses through a new public-private partnership.

The Baltimore Development Corporation, and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses, are partnering with the Support Fund to create an assistance network that will help small businesses complete applications for appropriate financial assistance programs.

This network is meant to allow small businesses to position themselves to be prepared as funding becomes available from a variety of sources.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

At a press conference Friday, Young said:

“Small business is the lifeblood of Baltimore City’s economy, and these local employers are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their operations and business models as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I am thankful the City is able to expand our capacity to serve small businesses by partnering with our local philanthropic and non-profit organizations and act as a conduit to these additional resource providers.”

Cecilia Benalcazar, the owner of Blooming Deli in Federal Hill, said she missed the due date for state funding but has since been able to apply for a federal loan.

“It takes time, and patience and you have to click and read and try to comprehend everything,” she said.

Even though they’ve reduced their hours and business is down by around 50 percent, Blooming Deli remains open for pick-up and for online ordering.

Benalcazar is still waiting to hear back on her application but said any additional funding would help.

“It’s awareness and how to do you get awareness out in the shortest amount of time to the largest amount of people,” she said.

Baltimore City has more than 12,000 small businesses.

Businesses in need of technical assistance applying for programs can click here.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff