Somerville Launches New Technical Assistance Program for Businesses

Information Session Planned for November 6 to discuss new program.

 

SOMERVILLE – The City of Somerville’s Economic Development Division has launched Small Business Support, a technical assistance program for small and home-based businesses in the city, to provide expert coaching and financial support for local entrepreneurs.

Participating businesses will receive several hours of coaching from an expert around an aspect of their business that has been challenging or seems to present opportunities for improvement. Coaches are available to discuss business planning, financial planning, marketing, web presence, restaurant operations, interior retail design, and exterior storefront design. An additional coach, The ICA Group, is available to provide guidance about how to start a business as a worker-owned cooperative or to transfer an existing business into a worker-owned structure. This coaching is free to businesses.

Businesses who receive coaching through the program will also be eligible to receive reimbursement grants to implement recommendations suggested by the coaches. These grants will cover up to 70% of the cost of initiatives like a new website, storefront improvements, interior renovations, new menus, or new point of sale software. The maximum grant is $7,000.

Businesses interested in assessing their eligibility for the program and learning more should contact Nick Schonberger, NSchonberger@SomervileMA.gov and 617-625-6600 ext. 2537. To learn more about the program, join us on Tuesday, November 6 at 4:30pm at the Somerville Public Library Central Branch for an Info Session. RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/small-business-support-info-session-tickets-51546317423

This program replaces the Commercial Property Improvement Program the City of Somerville has historically provided. Although business owners can still renovate their storefronts through this program, the additional flexibility will make it possible for home-based or office-based businesses to be eligible. The inclusion of coaching in the program will help strategize around how to make the grants more effective in supporting the overall health of the business.

This program is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. As such, there are certain eligibility requirements; businesses owned by or serving low-income populations are key priority. There is additional funding available for businesses that do not qualify for federal funding, but are directly affected by construction; this funding will only cover the coaching component of the program.

About Economic Development

The City’s Economic Development Division, part of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, focuses on business development, workforce development, and real estate development in the city. The team is committed to fostering the growth of a resilient economic base, creating good jobs, supporting strategic workforce development, and securing fiscal self-sufficiency for the City. Economic Development provides assistance to existing and emerging businesses, implements workforce development initiatives, and supports the redevelopment and enhancement of specific areas through infrastructure improvements and Brownfield cleanup projects.

 

 

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or nsalamoun@somervillema.gov.

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