MACDC recognizes the direct impact that community economic sustainability has on the health and vitality of our neighborhoods. For years, MACDC has supported our members as they offered training, technical assistance and access to capital to small businesses and micro enterprises, including those located in inner-city and rural communities, those from immigrant communities and communities of color and other traditionally disadvantaged communities.
The ongoing challenges the small business sector faces due to the pandemic has exasperated the economic vulnerability of small businesses, particularly in communities of color. When the public health emergency was declared in March 2020, MACDC formed an Ad Hoc Small Business COVID-19 Response Group, which later became the Community Business Network (CBN), a statewide coalition of CDCs, Community Based Organizations, and other small business technical assistance providers. CBN continues to meet monthly to share resources and discuss ways in which to support the Commonwealth’s small businesses. MACDC is also a founding member of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, a statewide coalition of small business support organizations, with a shared commitment to building an equitable small business ecosystem and to the values of racial equity, collaboration, and shared leadership.
Currently, MACDC is supporting our members through the following activities:
- Professional Development Training: Through the Mel King Institute, we provide rigorous training to small business development professionals serving disadvantaged communities in a number of areas, including: micro lending, business planning, client assessment, program evaluation and client outcome metrics. The Mel King Institute also runs a Business Development Certificate Program in partnership with Cambridge College and Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. The goal of this program is to enhance the skills and resources of business development professionals who are committed to supporting the successful launch and growth of small businesses across the Commonwealth.
- Peer Exchange: The Community Business Network: We host monthly meetings of the Community Business Network to provide a support network of colleagues who can help each other build skills, solve specific problems, work jointly on new initiatives and programs, share information on emerging issues, and provide a source of professional and personal support. CBN operates in partnership with the Coalition for an Equitable Economy and the Mass. Growth Capital Corporation.
- Technical Assistance: We offer technical assistance to individual practitioners to help them improve their skills, implement best practices, and grow their programs. Such assistance will sometimes be provided by staff and other times by consultants.
- Resource Development: We advocate with public and private organizations to expand the funding available for small business development in Massachusetts. A central focus of this effort is expanding the existing Small Business Technical Assistance program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. Over the past few years, we have successfully increased funding for this program from $2 million annually to $7 million and we hope to achieve further increases in the years to come. We also recently secured $14.5 million in new capital grants to CDFIs and CDS that lend to small businesses and played a leading role in the creation of a $700 million grant program in 2021 for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and another $75 million being released in 2022.
- MACDC Supplier Diversity Program: MACDC is now building on the success of the Boston Pilot Program which operated for the past 10 years. The Pilot Program has completed its second phase in 2021. Over the past 10 years, more than 30 CDC real estate projects participated and demonstrated a transparent commitment to our supplier diversity goals. In the aggregate these projects achieved over 30% MBE participation and nearly 10% WBE participation. As we look to expand this program statewide , we will expand the participation of CDC. The new program is still in the design phase but we know that partnership will remain a core element, including with our long-standing partners at the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association. We anticipate new partnerships as we deploy policy, funding, training, peer exchange and technical assistance to help our members expand their use of more minority and women owned contractors on their real estate construction projects and possibly property management as well. We hope to launch this new program by the end of 2022.