June 29th Information & Resources Update
Statewide Small Business Recovery Survey

The MassINC Polling Group, in coordination with numerous public policy and business organizations around the state, is conducting a survey about the impacts of coronavirus on small business in Massachusetts and plans for recovery.

Small businesses (defined for the purpose of the survey as business with fewer than 500 employees) are the backbone of local economies, and how they come out of this crisis is a crucial part of reopening. A wide array of responses will help inform policy makers’ decisions about what support small businesses need as they reopen. 

At the end of the survey, participants will have an opportunity to provide an email address for a chance to win one of five $100 Visa Gift Cards (only available for completing the entire survey).

This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Answers will only be analyzed together with other responses, and will not be used to identify respondents individually. If you would prefer to take this survey in a language other than English, you can select a translation using the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner of this screen.

This survey will be open for a short period of time. Questions should be directed to Rich Parr at The MassINC Polling group: [email protected] or (617) 224-1628.  
MAPC Webinar on Shared Streets & Spaces Program Tomorrow

MAPC will host a webinar "Shared Streets and Spaces: Navigating MassDOT's New Grant Program" tomorrow, Tuesday June 30th, at 2:00 PM via Zoom. Click here to register for the webinar.

The webinar will enable participants to hear from MassDOT, the Barr Foundation, and the Operational Services Division on how cities and towns can apply for the new MassDOT program.

In addition to an overview of the program from MassDOT, participants will learn more about the technical assistance available through the Barr Foundation and representatives from the Operation Services Division will discuss how municipalities may purchase materials needed for their pilots using OSD's statewide contracts.

The event is hosted in partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) and MassDOT.

Speakers will include:
  • Jackie DeWolfe, Director of Sustainable Mobility, MassDOT
  • Lisa Jacobson, Senior Program Officer, Mobility, Barr Foundation
  • Brendan McCue, Strategic Sourcing Contract Manager, Operational Services Division
  • Ariola Molla, Strategic Sourcing Contract Manager, Operational Services Division

Governor Proposes Updated Economic Development Legislation

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration unveiled an update to the Governor’s economic development legislation originally filed on March 4, An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth; the legislation has been updated to respond to and generate growth against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original legislation was the product of a nearly year-long economic development planning process last year, and the now $275 million proposal represents a targeted package of investments across three core areas: housing, community development, and business competitiveness. In response to the dramatically different economic landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration will ask the Legislature to consider an amended scope for several of the proposed programs, reallocate funding among proposed authorizations, and establish new tools to promote equity and drive economic growth.

The package proposes to:
  • Amend the scope of several proposed programs, to target funding towards specific communities including those hardest hit by COVID-19.
  • Reallocate funding among proposed authorizations, to better address the significant economic impacts of COVID-19 and to help provide a path for recovery, particularly for those most devastated by the pandemic.
  • Establish new tools to promote equity and drive economic growth in communities and among businesses facing barriers to entry in areas like state contracting. 

To do so, the Administration is proposing allocating an additional $15 million for neighborhood stabilization (for a total of $40 million) to invest in blighted and distressed homes. This funding, paired with collaboration and engagement with community organizations and municipalities, is intended to bring affordable housing units back on the market.

To allow the state to invest in more small businesses overall, especially those owned by underrepresented populations, and to leverage greater federal and private investment dollars, the Administration is recommending increasing funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) by $25 million (for a total of $35 million). These grants to small business lenders allow CDFIs to serve entrepreneurs in underserved populations with financial services, technical assistance, and credit building opportunities.

To help address the disproportionate challenges to accessing early stage business financing, the Administration is asking the Legislature to triple funding for grants to support micro businesses from a total of $5 million to $15 million. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) recently launched a pilot program called Biz-M-Power, which offers 1:1 matching grants and technical assistance to microbusinesses (fewer than 20 employees) who have successfully crowdsourced up to $10,000 in seed capital.

The legislation also includes the language of An Act to Promote Housing Choices, the Administration’s bill to advance new housing production in Massachusetts, and to support the administration’s goal to produce 135,000 new housing units by 2025. An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth includes these Housing Choice provisions to enable cities and towns to adopt certain zoning best practices through a simple majority vote rather than the current two-thirds supermajority.

Collaborative Workspace Program Funding Available

The Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment have announced funding for the fifth round of the Collaborative Workspace Program, a MassDevelopment program that accelerates business formation, job creation, and entrepreneurial activity in communities by supporting infrastructure that fuels locally based innovation. Established coworking spaces may apply for grants of up to $100,000 for new equipment or building improvements, including adjustments to help spaces adhere to the social distancing and health and safety standards outlined in the Commonwealth’s sector-specific COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standards.

The deadline to submit an application for this solicitation is 5:00 p.m. on August 10, 2020. For more information, visit MassDevelopment.com/cowork or email [email protected].
CMRPC Studying Feasibility of Transportation Management Association; Interested Employers Encouraged to Sign Up

The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) is conducting a research study to explore the desirability, feasibility, and viability of a Transportation Management Association (TMA) in the Central Massachusetts region.

A TMA is an entity, private, public or a combination of both, that provides transportation services in a specific area tailored to facilitate access to jobs.  A TMA can also provide institutional support for the implementation of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies.

TDM strategies include ridesharing, parking management strategies, commute trip reduction strategies (like telecommuting), pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and land use planning and coordination with residential complexes, among other strategies.

CMRPC will be seeking employers in the Central Massachusetts region, particularly along Route 9, who may be interested in taking part in this effort. If you, your business, or your organization are interested in taking part in the TMA, please click this link to sign up to receive updates. You will be contacted by CMRPC about future involvement.
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 July 8th; 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. Partnership operations are continuing throughout the duration of the current public health crisis, with our staff working remotely. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected] .

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership