The Recorder – Consulting, Loans to Support Western Massachusetts Businesses

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GREENFIELD – The state recently announced additional financial support for small businesses in Western Massachusetts, including Franklin County.

The Greenfield-based Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC) has received $ 1.25 million in loan capital and grants for businesses in Western Massachusetts, according to a Franklin County CDC press release. CDC chief executive John Waite said about 1 million of the funds, allocated by Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, will be loans, and about $ 200,000 will be small business grants.

“We’ve been lending to small businesses for nearly 40 years,” Waite said. “This will allow us to provide more flexible lending options to people who previously did not have access to credit.”

In addition, in partnership with Springfield Housing Services and the North Adams Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County CDC has received $ 160,000 to hire staff to work directly with entrepreneurs and business owners to help them overcome the challenges they face due to COVID. -nineteen.

“(Franklin County CDC) has a loan program that helps us provide more loans to provide more loans to small businesses, as well as some small grants to help them stabilize their resilience after COVID,” explained Amy Shapiro, a business consultant. CDC Development Director for Franklin County.

The firmware, which benefits all businesses in Western Massachusetts, provides new and growing businesses with the technical assistance they need to apply for a loan. The three organizations – the Springfield Housing Service, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin County Center for Disease Control – are working together to disburse funds.

“In essence, this is a state that takes on a great obligation to help small businesses start, stabilize and develop,” she said.

Shapiro said that after more than a year of the pandemic, businesses – some of which were suspended during the pandemic and others have altered and reshaped their business models – need resources to help them move forward.

“Part of our ongoing technical assistance is continuing to work with businesses … as they grow,” she said. “We are emerging from such a difficult time that business owners are now looking back and seeing what resources are available. There are many government resources available now, and our task is to connect them to these opportunities. ”

Shapiro said the funds would help businesses gain access to resources to build capacity, develop new niches, or “do something a little differently.” For example, the Franklin County CDC recently launched an accounting program to help small business owners with their accounting needs.

“We know this is a great need,” Shapiro said. “This was one of the shortcomings we saw this year: many businesses lagged behind in their accounting records, which put them at a disadvantage when trying to access finance.”

Shapiro said the partnership between the Franklin County CDC, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Housing Authority is not new; In fact, they have worked together for the past year.

“The collaboration is designed to help us all work together to empower small business owners,” she said. “We have been in business for many years and … we have a robust business assistance program. Our partners are just starting their business support programs, so we help them develop these programs. Government funds will help them become stronger and will provide direct services to small businesses, as well as hire consultants. ”

She said that all three organizations have excellent teams that are committed to working together to support the business.

“This is a really great project,” Shapiro said. “We have been working together all year, so this is not new – it’s just additional funds that help us in the work that we have been doing together all year. We are recognized by the state as leaders in this work ”.

Companies interested in getting help from CDC should call 413-774-7204.

Mary Byrne can be contacted at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne



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