UMB Making a Difference

Bill Freeman helps aspiring entrepreneurs in West Baltimore

William “Bill” Freeman, the business management consultant for the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has helped all kinds of entrepreneurs develop their businesses. From carryout owners to casket makers, Bill draws on over 30 years of business development experience, 15 spent in Baltimore, to help guide entrepreneurs through the process of starting and sustaining a business.

Bill maintains an office at the Graduate Research Innovation District (The Grid) in the Lion Brothers Building where students and community members alike can get his expert advice on business plan development, 8(a) & MBE application reviews, funding, and taking an established business to the next level. He’s visited community meetings in Poppleton and Hollins Market offering his services to community members, because “You never know, someone there could be the next Apple or the next Bill Gates,” he says. Freeman says he sees himself as a flashlight, helping would-be entrepreneurs navigate through unknown territory.

On Jan. 31, 2018 from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. aspiring and established entrepreneurs are invited to the Grid located at 875 Hollins Street to meet Bill Freeman and discover the free resources available to help make your business dreams come true. The free event is part of the UMB’s commitment to serving the community.

UMB: What kind of clients do you serve?

Bill Freeman: We take all kinds of people. Those that have ideas, those that are already in business as well as those in existing business. We can help them in all phases where ever they are in the continuum. Sometimes when it’s an idea, they need assistance. When it’s a startup they need things to grow their business. And then you have those that are in business that are looking to enhance that business.

UMB: How do I make an appointment?

BF: You can email me at wfreeman@umd.edu and I will get back to you with appointment information. Appointments last about an hour and a half and the sessions are confidential followed by unlimited visits. It only depends on your time and mine at no cost to you. We’re here to give whatever assistance you need in order to grow or start your business and it’s really up to you how much of the services you want to use.

UMB: How important is it to have a business plan?

BF: It’s definitely good to have an idea. Primarily because it shows your enthusiasm to start a business. We will review a business plan to see if it has all of the components, particularly if you’re looking to borrow money. A business plan is a road map.

It tells you where you are and where you want to go. Whenever you go on a vacation, you plan that vacation and it’s the same thing with a business plan. It helps you determine how to get there.

UMB: How does your previous banking experience help in this role?

BF: As a banker I know what is needed out there in the working world. I've been a banker for some 20-25 years and I have a pretty good idea as to what a company needs in order to grow their business. Particularly after sitting down and talking with you and finding out about your business that will give me more information to help move your agenda forward.