Yesterday, June 11 almost 100 residents and business owners attended a forum hosted by Senator Karen Spilka, who represents Framingham, at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center to learn more about the assistance and opportunities available to them as they start or expand their business in MetroWest.
The forum included a networking breakfast, displays from local business organizations and chambers of commerce, and an informative panel discussion featuring presentations by Charles Grigsby, President of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, April Anderson Lamoureux, Assistant Secretary for Economic Development for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and Paul Matthews, Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership.
During her opening remarks, Spilka highlighted the Legislature’s recent work to propel the economy forward and support the business community and private sector, including the Economic Development Reorganization Law of 2010.
Co-authored by Spilka and Senate President Therese Murray, this law provides easier access to a broader variety of tools to help businesses succeed while cutting through the bureaucracy and red tape. Also, the law provides additional support to small businesses, streamlines state government by eliminating or consolidating state agencies, and increases transparency by requiring regular management reviews and audits.
“This law revolutionized the way the state does business. By streamlining our approach to economic development, we ultimately helped create a more consistent and stable business environment, making it easier to do business here while ensuring Massachusetts maintains its competitive edge,” said Spilka in a press release.
Spilka also highlighted additional actions by the Legislature to address the issues and priorities of the business community, including the rising cost of health care and the cost of energy in the Commonwealth.
“Local and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we must remain proactive in supporting these businesses to ensure continued economic development and job creation across the Commonwealth,” said Spilka in a press release. The "forum was a way to provide the MetroWest business community with information on how to access the important resources, tools, and opportunities available to help them grow and thrive.”
Charles Grigsby explained to the group that as the President of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, he works to provide technical assistance and working capital for small businesses to help promote the creation and maintenance of jobs in Massachusetts. Established by the Economic Development Reform Law, Corporation provides a centralized resource at the state level that offers working capital, loan guarantees, and targeted technical assistance to solve specific financial and operational problems.
Grigsby discussed their efforts to support the small business community, including working with traditional financial institutions to make “un-bankable” loans bankable, working with community development corporations and other non-profits to provide financing for job-producing projects, and assisting a wide range of small businesses to find the growth capital they require.
During his presentation, Paul Matthews discussed the local organizations dedicated to assisting the business community, including the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership. The Partnership, through a unique public-private collaboration, leads the advancement of the 495/MetroWest region as a cohesive, competitive, and premier location for people, businesses, and communities. Matthews highlighted the work of other organizations, including the local chambers of commerce, the MetroWest/495 Transportation Management Association, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and local municipal planning departments.
April Anderson Lamoureux, recently named the State’s first Regulatory Ombudsman, discussed her work to promote a balanced and effective regulatory climate by helping develop the state’s first comprehensive regulatory reform agenda, to review of all existing regulations to study their effectiveness and impacts on business.
The administration recently completed the initial stage of this review, which included 200 different regulations, about 10 percent of the total regulations in state government. Out of those reviewed, 41 were eliminated immediately and 107 were targeted to be overhauled and updated. Anderson Lamoureux explained that by eliminating unnecessary regulations and consolidating others, they are working to eliminate barriers to economic growth and making Massachusetts a more business friendly state.
Additional topics covered included the permitting and licensing process and how to access assistance available at the federal, state, and local level.
A number of local organizations and chambers of commerce were on display to showcase the resources and opportunities they provide to area businesses. Guests had time to network and connect with representatives from these groups and learn more about their work to support and propel the MetroWest business community and the economy.