Economic Development Partners Spotlight:
Merrimack Valley Small Business Center
Lowell's economic success depends on strong partnerships. The City of Lowell's Economic Development Office is fortunate to work with some great local and regional organizations. Together we offer a wide variety of services and assistance to Lowell businesses.
Terence J. Ryan
Director, Merrimack Valley Small Business Center
Explain your organization and the resources it provides to Lowell businesses? The Merrimack Valley Small Business Center is a nonprofit that helps businesses plan, build, grow, and stabilize. MVSBC is affiliated with Community Teamwork, Inc. a regional community action agency. We provide SBA funded microloans of up to $50,000 to individuals who are not eligible for traditional loans. Business owners in the area can utilize our "Financial Tune-Up Boot Camp" and classes in marketing and law.
How long have your worked at the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center? I started here at the MVSBC on March 6th, only a short time, but having grown up in Lowell it seems like a natural fit.
What business sectors do you work most closely with? Most businesses are retail followed closely by food inspired operations. The Center also has clients in the import/export business and internet sales.
At what stage of business do your services come into play? We participate in all stages of a business. We offer a class on developing your business plan, an essential component to starting any new business. We provide funding within our guidelines and we also help once the business is up and running with technical assistance focused on the needs of the business.
What is your main goal in helping the Lowell business community? Our main goal is to help people start a business, but who may not meet the criteria for a conventional business loan. Our program is flexible, with the caveat that our clients are required to participate in technical assistance programs before and after receiving a loan.
How does your organization partner with the Economic Development Office? The City's Economic Development Office, along with CTI, UMass Lowell, and Middlesex Community College, helped found the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center. The MVSBC meets with the Economic Development Office and other community leaders on a monthly basis to collaborate and cross-promote events that assist businesses in Lowell.
What do you like most about working with Lowell's business community? I have enjoyed meeting all the helpful people from the City, businesses, community organizations, and clients all doing what they can to create and build small business in Lowell.