The Baltimore area's Minority Business Development Center is moving -- literally -- to develop a higher profile.
A new downtown location will be more convenient and will provide greater access to clients, the center's officials say. And the new manager, Arthur Petersen, Jr., hopes to boost the number of clients by about 25 percent.
The federally funded program, which helps minority businesses with such issues as business planning, officially opened Wednesday at 301 N. Charles St. The center had been in the Park Circle Business Center in Northwest Baltimore since it was established in the mid-1970s.
The move comes two months after John Milligan and Associates P.C., a minority-owned accounting firm based in Philadelphia, took over management of the center. Mr. Milligan's firm, which also has offices in Baltimore and Camden, N.J., was awarded a three-year management contract June 1.
The center's goal, Mr. Milligan said, is to serve 156 business people this year, compared with 118 last year.
Clients of the MBDC's four-person staff range from "those thinking about starting a business . . . to those that have been in business for 20 years," he said.
The center helps its clients with, among other things, formulating corporate policy, financial management, contract procurement, preparation of financial proposals for lending institutions and other business services.
"We want to have an impact with the center," Mr. Milligan, 42, said.
His two main objectives are to "help foster growth in minority businesses" and to help his own firm grow through its work with the MBDC, he said.
Businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue are charged $10 an hour for the center's services, and those with more than $500,000 are charged $17.50 an hour, Mr. Petersen said.
About 85 percent of MBDC's budget is provided by the federal government.
The manager provides the remaining 15 percent.
Serving the greater Baltimore area, the MBDC is run by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency, which runs 107 centers in 50 states.