EDIC Hosts Framingham Delegation Forum to Highlight Local, State, and Federal Support for Business Community

Senate President Spilka, State Representatives Gentile, Lewis, and Robinson and Mayor Spicer Detail Economic Recovery

"Today, I want to give you a very clear message: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is here to help,” said Senate President Karen Spilka at the Delegation Forum that Framingham’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) held virtually on May 12, 2021. Senate President Spilka, who noted that she is celebrating her 20th anniversary representing Framingham at the State House this year, was joined by Mayor Yvonne Spicer, and State Representatives Carmine Lawrence Gentile, Jack Patrick Lewis, and Maria Duaime Robinson. The event, which was held on Zoom and attended by more than 40 members of the business community, was moderated by EDIC Chair Doug Lawrence.

Senate President Spilka recounted how the Commonwealth has made $700 million in relief available to the state’s small businesses and highlighted the resources that will be made to communities and employers through the economic development legislation that the legislature passed in January. She also mentioned that 93 Framingham businesses have received grants from the Massachusetts Capital Corporation.

State Representative Maria Duaime Robinson provided details on efforts at the federal level to help small businesses, including updates on the Paycheck Protection Act. She also offered information on the Shuttered Venues Operators grant, which is supporting performing arts venues and cultural institutions, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will assist food service employers – from food trucks to distilleries.

State Representative Jack Patrick Lewis reiterated that the representatives’ offices are here to help and encouraged business owners and employees to reach out when they need assistance. He also reminded attendees that there are opportunities available to women-owned, LGBTQ+, and immigrant-owned businesses. In expressing gratitude to the community for supporting local employers, he said, “the onus is on us as consumers, as community members, to invest our money, to buy those gift certificates, to buy the take out, to continue to make sure those businesses that are closest to our hearts are supported…we need to keep doing it.”

Closing out the panel, State Representatives Carmine Lawrence Gentile detailed the resources available to employers in the state’s annual budget, which legislators are currently debating at the State House. Among other programs, he highlighted the fact that the budget includes $25,000 for Framingham Southside Opportunity Zoning planning, and that both the House and Senate budgets include $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $2.5 million for Urban Grants, both of which will benefit the City of Framingham.

The panel discussion kicked off with remarks from Framingham’s Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer, who highlighted the City’s efforts to support businesses during the pandemic. She provided information on recent discussions she held with employers about workforce needs and how the City has utilized CARES Act funds to offer small business grants. “So far, we have distributed roughly $572,000 in business grants. We had 121 applications received and we approved 59,” she said. She also mentioned licensing changes that the City undertook and expressed her hope that the City will continue to ramp up its outdoor dining opportunities.

The event also featured a question-and-answer discussion that included questions from attendees. You can watch the entire EDIC-sponsored Delegation Forum here.