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New venture capital fund seeks entrepreneurs for downtown Cambridge

Local businesspeople offer entrepreneurs up to $50,000 in start-up capital

Dreaming of starting a business? Now may be just the time to do it, thanks to the new Cambridge Venture Capital Fund I, LLC, which is offering entrepreneurs up to $50,000 each in assistance in downtown Cambridge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The $250,000 fund has been established by local business people who want to invest in the core of downtown Cambridge.

“We want to give entrepreneurs some powerful incentives to open in Cambridge, Maryland,” said Brett Summers, Cambridge resident and developer of several downtown buildings, who spearheaded the creation of the venture capital fund. “If you have time, talent, and desire—but not enough capital—this is a great opportunity.”

The fund is limited to new retail businesses opening on certain blocks in the downtown core—the 300 block of High Street, the 500 block of Poplar Street, and the 400 or 500 blocks of Race Street.

The creation of the Cambridge Venture Capital Fund is another sign of the momentum that Cambridge—home to about 12,000 residents—has been experiencing the last few years. In 2011, the core of the small downtown saw 13 new or expanded businesses, from a gastropub to a pet boutique, as well as building improvements at 40 properties. So far in 2012, six businesses have opened, with others expected to open in the coming months, including a barbecue restaurant/butcher shop and a bakery. Three of the young businesses came to town through a pop-up store contest, which began in 2010 through the nonprofit Cambridge Main Street, which champions downtown revitalization.

Mari Stanley, executive director of Cambridge Main Street, applauds the new venture capital fund. “I think it’s brilliant that business people right here in our community have come together to invest in our downtown in this way,” she said. “Our downtown already has great momentum. If the venture capital fund helps launch five retail businesses in a short timeframe, Cambridge will be that much more vibrant.”

To find out more about the Cambridge Venture Capital Fund, go to CambridgeMainStreet.com and click on “Starting a Business?” or call Brett Summers at 202.315.1108.      

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