Governor announces new small business grant programs


SPRINGFIELD – Speaking in the tap room of White Lion Brewing – a business that has been assisted by programs for small businesses – Governor Charlie Baker announced a new state commitment to small business recovery and development companies.

He also affirmed his commitment to getting people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Baker announced $ 30 million in additional state funding for four grant programs administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).

Funding includes:
• Allocating $ 4 million to 45 not-for-profit technical assistance providers to continue working with small businesses and entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved communities to develop and grow their businesses;
• $ 14.7 million in scholarships to 15 organizations under the matching grant program of the CRJM’s Community Development Financial Institution and the Community Development Corporation (CDFI and CDC), which funds both small business loan and mini-grant programs.

CRJM President and CEO Larry Andrews announced two new programs supported by $ 11.3 million in public funds: the Biz-M-Power Program and the Digital Capacity Development Grants Program. ‘Empower Digital. The Biz-M-Power will use the power of crowdsourcing to raise funds for a new business.

He added that both programs are designed to help small businesses run by women, minorities and veterans. The programs recognize the challenges small businesses face in gateway cities, but also in rural areas.

To learn more about the new programs, visit https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/.

According to information provided by the Baker administration, the Commonwealth “distributed $ 705 million to 15,428 businesses in the form of relief grants and loan cancellations.” CRJM loan recipients had the opportunity to request the forgiveness of their loans in the event of a pandemic by demonstrating a significant negative financial effect of COVID-19. During the duration of the program, 43% of CRJM grants went to minority-owned businesses and 46% of grants went to women-owned businesses. Recovery efforts have also included small business technical assistance grants from the CRJM and matching grants to community development finance institutions and community development corporations; the $ 1.6 million Travel and Tourism Stimulus Grant Pilot Program to promote the revival of the tourism industry; a campaign to promote “Let’s Go Out” restaurants; and an ongoing $ 9.5 million effort to help 125 communities pursue concrete, locally-driven strategies to support downtown and commercial districts through the Local Rapid Recovery Planning program.

White Lion founder Raymond Berry Jr. expressed his gratitude to state and local authorities for the business help he received not only to set up his reception hall in Tower Square, but also to establish the first brewery in Springfield for decades.

Berry will celebrate the opening of the new taproom on June 26.

Regarding the vaccination effort, Baker announced the new lottery program to encourage – or reward – vaccinations. According to a recent press release, “Massachusetts VaxMillions Giveaway for Residents Fully Immunized Against COVID-19. Fully immunized residents 18 years of age and older will have the opportunity to enter to win five million dollar cash prizes. Fully immunized residents aged 12 to 17 can participate for a chance to win one of five $ 300,000 scholarships. Eligible residents will be able to participate in the draw from July 1. The draws will be held once a week for five weeks starting the week of July 26 and continuing through the week ending August 27.

“If that’s what it takes, I don’t care. I just want you to get the shot, ”Baker said. He noted that four million of the Commonwealth’s seven million people have been fully immunized to date.

For more information on the Mass VaxMillions Giveaway, visit mass.gov/VaxMillions.

Asked about Hampden County’s low vaccination rate, Baker explained that Hampden County has the youngest population in the state and the younger ones need to “be cuddled.”

He added: “We are not going to stop.”


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