About the Program


The Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) began MWBC Shop Local in 2019 with the aim of lowering barriers of opportunity to a diverse pool of entrepreneurs and creating a launch pad for startup and early-stage small scale manufacturers.

MWBC Shop Local is a combination of both a program-based and space-based retail incubator, combining the strengths of each model with the goal of bringing diversity and locally grown businesses into the shopping experience of a customer.

With a program-based model, incubators provide technical assistance, mentorship, and access to capital. The focus of this model is nurturing and sustaining small retail businesses to help promote the economic vitality of an area. Whereas the space-based model minimizes the financial risk through shared space.


Business Counseling

One-on-one business counseling throughout the cohort period with an MWBC Business Consultant to guide your business in the right direction.

Intensive Training

Training workshops led by experts covering fundamental business topics such as market analysis, financial projections, operations, technology, visual merchandising, executive summaries, and elevator pitches.


Work closely with the other women entrepreneurs in your cohort as you learn and grow your businesses together in a collaborative environment.

Retail Management

Gain customer service and retail management skills on-site at our storefront location by scheduling, planning promotions, and achieving sales goals.

Financial Support

The monthly cohort incubator fee costs a fraction of typical retail leases. Our reduced cost storefront gives participants the opportunity to experience a physical retail store without that financial barrier.

Meet The Maker Events

Host workshops and events that will highlight your business, MWBC Shop Local, and drive foot traffic to the store. MWBC provides marketing support on the website, social media, and email newsletters.


Program Dates

We host 2 cohorts per year comprising of up to 6 entrepreneurs at each location.

Winter Cohort

January – June

Applications open in October.

Summer Cohort

July – December

Applications open in April.


Find out if your business is eligible for the program.

Applying for the Program

Applications open in April and October.