Baltimore has been the scene of recent unrest sparked by the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray after his spine was nearly severed in police custody.
The causes of the protests, many say, are rooted in social inequality common through many parts of the city and much of the U.S.
Local civil rights activist Dayvon Love told Al Jazeera that government and nonprofit agencies try to “manage disaster” rather than investing in longer-term solutions, and that the results have not been transformative.
Love is part of a group of figures in Baltimore's African-American community promoting black entrepreneurship.
Another such figure, Rasheed Aziz, teaches African-American youths to print designs on T-shirts at his small business.
Aziz said that the program is not only about making clothing but keeping kids off the streets. He said he hopes that someday they will become business owners themselves.
A new research study looked at data from urban centers around the U.S. and found that in areas where black individuals were increasing their business ownership, there were positive results beyond the business bottom line.
Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from Baltimore.