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Business Growth Center Expands Programming for Entrepreneurs

SPRINGFIELD — The Business Growth Center at Springfield Technology Park has received a grant from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. (MGCC) to help underserved or disadvantaged business owners in the Pioneer Valley grow, or stabilize, their enterprises.

The funds will enable the center to continue its Stronger Businesses Program, starting Oct. 7, and supplement funding for its staff. This is the second time the Business Growth Center has received this MGCC grant for the Stronger Businesses Program, which focuses on businesses with fewer than 20 employees. An assistant program manager will also be added to the center’s staff to support its Growth Advisory Program and seminars.

The grant is part of the MGCC’s 2015 Small Business Assistance Grants Program, which is designed to complement and enhance the traditional public and private small-business assistance network. The Business Growth Center is one of 30 organizations statewide to receive 25 grants, and the only one in Hampden or Hampshire county to receive funding from the MGCC.

“Businesses with fewer than 20 employees dominate the Pioneer Valley,” said Marla Michel, the Business Growth Center’s director. “They will benefit from this support, as it allows us to re-offer a proven business-growth workshop and build our capacity for other growth programs.”

The Stronger Businesses Program is an eight-session, in-depth offering for motivated leaders of for-profit and nonprofit businesses aiming to strengthen their organizations and accelerate growth through better decision making, new-product introductions, and more efficient operations. The program starts on Oct. 7 and, after a five-week ‘homework’ period, runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 23. Business owners can bring an associate at no additional charge to help absorb what they learn more effectively.

Discounts are available to members of all the regional chambers of commerce and the Western Mass. chapter of the National Machine and Tooling Assoc., as well as clients of the Business Growth Center’s service providers: the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, the New England Business Associates Business Development Center, and SCORE.

Participants in last year’s program reported increased business stabilization or growth as a result of the program. “If I hadn’t taken this class, my company wouldn’t have been in as upward a position as it is,” said Kristin Maier, program participant and president of Peerless Precision Inc. in Westfield.

Added Leslie Belay, senior program manager at MGCC, “we are pleased to have the Business Growth Center as one of our grantees in Western Mass. Their Stronger Businesses Program is compelling and will assist small-business owners in expanding their products and services to meet new growth opportunities in the Pioneer Valley.”

Registration is open for the Stronger Businesses Program and available on the center’s website.


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