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Resources for Boston’s small businesses

City of Boston
Resources for Boston’s small businesses
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The City of Boston offers many resources for small business owners — from COVID-19  guidance and support, to workshops in marketing, accounting, HR and more.

For businesses impacted by COVID-19

Open restaurants
A tool for restaurants to register online and to publicly share that they’re open, share gift-card information, and which (if any) delivery/take-out services they use. This guide is available for residents to utilize, and explore what local businesses are open in their neighborhoods. The City of Boston lifted licensing regulations to allow takeout/delivery at all restaurants, and created a guidebook for offering take-out and delivery that can also be used for groceries, pharmacies, and others.

Food trucks summer pilot program
A summer pilot program for the City of Boston’s Food Truck Program that will support valuable small businesses that have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, as well as provide residents throughout the City’s neighborhoods with additional accessible and safe food options.

Open businesses in Boston
A tool for essential businesses (now more broad as reopening continues) to publicly share that they are open, share gift-card information, and which (if any) delivery/take-out services they use. This guide is available for residents to utilize, and explore what local businesses are open in their neighborhoods. We encouraged all essential businesses that were allowed to remain open during the statewide closure of businesses that are non-essential to the COVID-19 response, to register online if they were still open.

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Black- and brown-owned businesses in Boston
This list is meant to showcase our businesses that have Black and Brown owners to help us ensure that residents of color can share equally in our City’s economic prosperity. Businesses can fill out a short application to be included in the directory and learn more about the benefits of certification, and it offers procurement liaisons for external organizations a directory for purchasing. We worked with BECMA, AmplifyLatinX, the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Office, and others to launch the directory.

PPE & cleaning supplies directory
New platform created to help businesses source personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to protect employees and customers as the economy begins to reopen. Along with industry-specific reopening requirements, the page includes a list of self-identified, local suppliers of PPE and cleaning supplies, information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vendor database, and partner organizations helping to connect businesses with vendors. Partners include BECMA and the N95 Project.

Small business relief fund
The City of Boston has established the Small Business Financial Relief Fund to help businesses most impacted by COVID-19. The Fund has distributed $6.5 million to nearly 1,900 small businesses. 50% of those businesses are owned by people of color, and 47% are immigrant-owned. Grants can be used to help address fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, lost sales, lost opportunities, and other working capital expenses that could have been recognized had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred.

Reopen Boston Fund
$6 million in new debt-free grants to support the safe and healthy reopening of small businesses in Boston. The funding will help qualified small businesses implement the necessary public health measures required to reopen safely. The Reopen Boston Fund has distributed $1.7 million to more than 1,000 businesses for safety measures including PPE, partitions, and outdoor space.

Reopening technical assistance information sessions
The City has also hosted a series of industry-specific technical assistance workshops to address the challenges our small businesses will face as they reopen and have offered simultaneous translation in the highest need languages. 

Weekly small business conference call
Beginning in March, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development hosts small business conference calls every Tuesday at 3pm to communicate directly to small business owners and entrepreneurs about the constantly evolving COVID-19 response, regulations and public health guidance, as well as resources created to assist businesses in this unprecedented time.

Small business virtual office hours
The Small Business team is available every Friday from 9-11am and 2-4pm to take questions, assist with applications for grants/loans/programs, offer guidance, and connect business owners with needed translation services or external agencies.

COVID-19: resources for business
Offered updates on resources, regulations, and policy changes. As business owners, employers, and employees navigate an evolving COVID-19-related assistance landscape, the Economic Development Office created a Federal Assistance Guide, Financial Relief Handbook and FAQ document.

Existing small business resources

The Small Business Unit within the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development manages initiatives aimed at supporting small businesses and neighborhood wealth creation and works with small businesses throughout the city via direct services and its partnership with the Boston Main Streets Foundation and its 20 neighborhood-based 501(c)3 organizations.

  • Technical Assistance
  • Restore
  • We-Bos (Women Entrepreneurs Boston)
  • Certification
  • Neighborhood Business Access Loan

Economic Development Center

Launched by Mayor Walsh in his 2019 State of the City address, the Economic Development Center was designed to engage with residents on economic development opportunities around job growth, business development, placemaking and community economic development. The Center is accessible and convenient to all communities in order to generate economic opportunities for all residents and businesses, and discuss policy and planning in a thoughtful and collaborative manner. All workshops offer interpretive services and are family-friendly.

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Small business resources include workshops series on business planning, digital marketing, accounting and HR, as well as accelerator series to focus on starting a food business or restaurant, at-home childcare business, and series specific for artists and the creative economy, restaurants, and immigrant small business owners.

The “Contracting with the City” series is designed to create a network of individuals and businesses to connect with good jobs and public procurement opportunities, and serve as a vehicle to engage directly with diverse communities on equity policy and decision making. We regularly host “Opportunity Fairs,” RFP/Bid workshops, match-making sessions, contracting clinics and information sessions on upcoming City of Boston procurement opportunities.

Contracting with the City workshop schedule

Construction Contracts
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Register at: www.eventbrite.com

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