In 2011, Applied Development opened our doors in Baltimore. Although we knew we would be doing business with the federal government, primarily in the D.C. metro area, we chose an office in Baltimore. Co-founders Kimberly Citizen and Biffrey Braxton knew that Applied Development could grow and succeed here. Today, an advertisement from Live Baltimore will run in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun acknowledging the city is a place, “our neighbors are proud to live, work, build, create, and play.” We would like to join civic leaders, business owners, artists, and other city residents to share why we choose Baltimore, and why we love it.
Before Applied Development’s founding, Kimberly and Biffrey had lived in Baltimore for about twelve years. Kimberly moved to Baltimore in 1997, after serving in the U.S. Army where she received awards and citations for her service. She chose to live here and raise her son in this community. Biffrey moved to Baltimore in 2000 after attending the University of Alabama, and sought out opportunities to connect with the community.
“Like so many others who choose Baltimore, Kimberly and I have had the opportunity to serve this community,” says Biffrey. Kimberly serves on the board of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC), an award-winning theater in Baltimore’s downtown neighborhood and the House of Ruth, Maryland Young Professionals initiative. Biffrey volunteers with the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, named in honor of the world-famous Baltimore Jazz pianist, and the House of Ruth, Maryland Men Greater Than Violence initiative. He directly works with the community he lives in by sitting on the board of the Midtown Community Benefits District, which addresses the concerns of clean, green, and safe streets. “We, as many others who choose to live in Baltimore, get to leave an imprint on this city that transcends the problems recently noted in the press,” says Kimberly.
We also know that Baltimore is a great place for entrepreneurs and business. Forbes named Baltimore number 5 for top rising cities for startups and Entrepreneur named Baltimore number 5 on it’s top cities for minority entrepreneurs. As a small business, we’ve seen success, and we know that Baltimore’s nurturing environment for small business is part of that. In 2018, Applied Development was selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies chose Baltimore as a permanent site for the program, investing $10 millions dollars to encourage small business growth in the city. We also help mentor youth and the next generation of business leaders by participating in the Baltimore Hire One Youth internship program, a division of Baltimore City’s YouthWorks.
“The opportunity to do well in the city brought us here, but the neighborhoods and the community kept us here,” says Biffrey. We choose Baltimore for an arts scene that rivals larger cities, including free-admission to world-class art museums at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, the Bromo Arts District, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, the Eubie Blake Center, the Lyric Operahouse, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a host of other venues and groups that support the arts and provide space for artistic performance and display.
Today, Applied Development calls the Mt. Vernon neighborhood home. This beautiful part of town includes the first monument to George Washington built in the U.S., the first conservatory in the U.S., one of the oldest art colleges in the U.S., and the first Cathedral in our country.
Like many people who call Baltimore home, whether they are born in the city or adopted it, we are human beings and we choose to live in Baltimore.