August 12th Information &
Resources Update
MassWorks Infrastructure 2020 Applications Due Aug. 28th

The 2020 Round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program is now open, with an application deadline of August 28. The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is a competitive grant program for municipalities, and other eligible public entities, investing in public infrastructure projects. MassWorks is the largest and most flexible source of capital funds the Commonwealth makes available to municipalities. The goal of the program is to provide state support to infrastructure projects that also achieve economic development by accelerating housing production, spurring private development, and creating jobs throughout the Commonwealth.

Municipalities can apply for funding for projects in the following areas:
  • Mixed-use development (residential with commercial, retail and/or other development)
  • Housing development (housing only)
  • Economic development with job creation and/or retention (no housing)
  • Small-town road improvement projects to enhance transportation safety (e.g., STRAP)

The deadline for proposals is August 28th, 2020 at 11:59PM.
MetroFest: At Home Edition!
Our friends and partners at the MetroWest Visitors Bureau are excited to present a virtual version of MetroFest! All the best of MetroFest, but now the At Home Edition! The event on August 29th will include live music online, "Meet the Chefs" with area food trucks and restaurants showing how they prepare their signature dishes, and dozens of vendor and sponsor booths to visit.

This wonderful event showcases businesses, nonprofit organizations, restaurants, artists, and entertainers from across our region. Typically held in person in Framingham, with over 8,000 annual attendees, the MetroWest Visitors Bureau has worked hard to re-create this opportunity online.

The event will take place on August 29th from 11:00 AM through 1:30 PM; a full schedule is available online at registration.
Mass. STEP Opens Applications for Small Business Exports Program

The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment ("MOITI"), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network and the Massachusetts Export Center, have launched the Massachusetts State Trade Expansion Program ("STEP"). MOITI, through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, will provide grants to eligible, approved Massachusetts small businesses for the purpose of increasing export sales of their goods and services.

Eligible businesses may apply for grants ranging from a minimum of $6,000 to a maximum of $12,000 per business to reimburse for costs associated with pre-approved projects, activities or services undertaken during the period October 1, 2020 to September 30th, 2022. Each grant recipient will be required to provide a match to cover at least a portion of the total approved cost for any project, activity or service. New-to-export firms have a minimum 25% match requirement and all other firms have a 40% match requirement.

The STEP Program is intended to help offset international business development and related marketing costs for small businesses. Grant proceeds may be used for specific international business development and marketing costs, including:
  • Overseas trade show or conference exhibition and directly related expenses
  • U.S. Department of Commerce international business development services
  • Cost of compliance testing an existing product for entry into an export market
  • Design of export market-specific marketing media
  • Localization of websites for target export markets
  • Research tool subscription for targeted export market research
Click here for more information, and to access application materials. Please note: federal funding for the 2020-2021 Massachusetts STEP program has not yet been appropriated; applicants must acknowledge that there is a risk that the program will not be funded.

Applications are being accepted until September 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. 

To qualify for STEP program funding, a business must meet the definition of an "eligible small business concern" under Section 503 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. Click here to view the official definition. In addition, the business must meet the U.S. content requirements. Click here to view U.S. content requirements
MAPC Webinar on Hosting Virtual Town Meetings

MAPC will host a webinar for municipal leaders considering a virtual platform for their Fall Town Meetings. The webinar will showcase how two municipalities, Lexington and Stoughton, went about their Spring Representative Town Meeting, how they kept technology from being a barrier, the tools they used, lessons learned, and preparations for the Fall.

Speakers will include:
  • Jim Malloy, Town Manager, Town of Lexington
  • Sean Dugan, Public Information Officer, Town of Lexington
  • Robin Grimm, Town Manager, Town of Stoughton
  • Trish Shropshire, Director of Information Technology, Town of Stoughton

New MassGrown Exchange Platform Launched

The Baker-Polito Administration this week announced the launch of the MassGrown Exchange, an online platform designed to facilitate business-to-business connections within the local food system for products and services. The platform was developed following recommendations from the Administration’s Food Security Task Force, which promotes ongoing efforts to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to healthy, local food.

Developed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), in collaboration with the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), this platform was originally established to address COVID-19 disruptions to the local food supply in order to assist Massachusetts growers and producers in accessing markets. Given its broad applicability to the food sector in the Commonwealth, this platform will remain in place as a tool and resource beyond the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

The MassGrown Exchange platform will assist Massachusetts food businesses looking to sell and purchase products and services, including:
  • Farmers, fishermen, specialty food producers with wholesale products to sell to restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets, or searching for equipment or services, such as storage, distribution
  • Buyers (including supermarkets, institutions, schools, food banks, restaurants, and retail outlets) looking for local food products
  • Service and equipment providers working with businesses in the food system

The platform offers a simple registration process for Massachusetts food businesses, which can operate as a buyer or supplier, depending on whether they are looking to acquire products or provide products or services. Potential sellers and buyers are encouraged to register their business and start listing products and services.

MDAR also offers the Massachusetts Grown and Fresher interactive map, which aims to help the general public find local food and other agricultural products at local farms, farmers markets, fairs, agritourism farms, wineries, breweries, and more.
Biweekly MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

These discussions are open to any interested party, and are held every other Wednesday at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The next session will be held on Wednesday, August 19th; click here to sign up!

  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, the 495/Metro West Partnership
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected].

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership