Mayor Walsh celebrates National Small Business Week in Boston
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today celebrated National Small Business Week at il Panino Cafe and Grill in Jamaica Plain, announcing that the Department of Neighborhood Development’s (DND) Office of Business Development (OBD) will be expanding its “High-Impact Tool Box,” which provides personalized, customized assistance to small businesses based on their unique needs. As part of the expansion OBD will more than double its budget to $250,000 for its One-on-One Small Business Assistance program, and expand its Social Media Accelerator programming.
"I'm proud of our City: Boston is one of four cities in the country recognized by Small Business Administration (SBA), to officially celebrate National Small Business Week,” said Mayor Walsh, making the announcement at Il Panino Café and Grill in Jamaica Plain. “Boston is the hub of small business and entrepreneurship, and today’s expansion of high-impact programs for small business is another example of the City of Boston’s commitment to help small businesses succeed and thrive in Boston.”
“I want to thank Mayor Walsh for his commitment to the small business community in Boston,” said Victoria Amador, owner of Tremendous Maid, a small business in Boston that is participating in all three OBD programs. “I am proof that, with support from the Office of Business Development and the Boston Main Street Program, you can improve your bottom line and hire new employees.”
The One-on-One Small Business Assistance program serves small businesses during the hours that work for them and at no cost to the business. Services include assisting with accounting and financial management; business operations; technology systems; marketing and promotions; legal advice; and interior design. Through the program OBD has assisted businesses in 17 commercial districts throughout Boston and 65% of them have been minority-owned. Business owners report that they have seen a 50% average increase in revenue over the 6-month period following the assistance. In addition 40 jobs have been created or saved. The $250,000 in increased funding will allow OBD to more than double the number of businesses participating in the One-on-One Small Business Assistance program.
As Mayor Walsh made his announcement, OBD was convening more than seventy of Boston’s small business owners at its Social Media Accelerator, a one-day event to educate business owners on how to leverage social media to drive awareness, growth, and profitability. The Social Media Accelerator was held at Suffolk University, where businesses heard presentations from experts in the field who provided practical tips about how to use social media tools effectively, and heard about social media best practices from a panel of their social media-savvy peers. In January OBD held its first Social Media Accelerator, which attracted 60 small businesses and over 90 people. Due to the success of the program OBD will now host a Social Media Accelerator quarterly.
Mayor Walsh also announced today that OBD will assist small business owners in accessing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, in partnership with Babson College and ICIC. The program aims to help small businesses create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to business education, financial capital, and business support services.
More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Small businesses provide us with goods and services, with jobs, with community meeting places, with a rich diversity of cultures and languages, with stewards who invest in our neighborhoods and our neighbors, and they provide us with the inspiration to dream, the motivation to pursue new opportunities and the resolve to succeed.
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year, Boston is one of four cities across the country hosting National Small Business week. Throughout the week, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Mayor Walsh and OBD will be hosting events and promoting the importance of small business.
OBD offers a full range of services -- from financial and referral services, to business facade improvement and small service loans, to networking events – in order to ensure that Boston business owners get the support they need to succeed. OBD also supports the nationally-recognized Boston Main Streets program, which was created in 1995. With 20 districts, Boston Main Streets is devoted to the continued revitalization of Boston's neighborhood commercial districts.