Lt. Governor Karyn Polito speaking at the Community Teamwork headquarters in Lowell
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2020 at 9:11 pm | UPDATED: February 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm
LOWELL – The Baker-Polito administration continues its support of small businesses throughout the commonwealth with Thursday’s announcement of $550,000 in community development capital and microlending grants.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced multiple recipients of the grants at the headquarters of the Community Teamwork Inc., a nonprofit organization on Merrimack Street. Polito was joined by Mayor John Leahy, City Manager Eileen Donoghue and Larry Andrews, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.
“What we’re celebrating today are the ideas that come from the community,” Polito said. “Think about the cultural diversity that makes up what Lowell’s history is and what you continue to be: a welcoming place for people with different backgrounds and cultures and dialects come to. They come with that diversity of thought, which is a real asset. When individuals come to this community, they have ideas that they want to bring forward.”
The biggest grant of the collective $550,000 total was awarded to the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation in the amount of $150,000.
Other grants ranged from $100,000 each to $50,000 each. They were awarded to groups including Community Teamwork’s Entrepreneurship Center, the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation.
Andrews described the grants as a means for organizations spread throughout the state to offer matching funds to small business owners in need. He added that the amount in each grant and the number of grants awarded each year depend on yearly appropriation from the administration.
“The federal government wants to be sure that the state is involved, but more importantly we want to make sure that these community development corporations and community development financial institutions are supported in other ways,” he explained. “It is up substantially this year. However, it’s still not enough so we’re trying to look at a trajectory that’ll actually go up. There should be more.”
Andrews noted that the receiving corporations address communities with various demographics and needs, referencing how for example the Franklin County Community Development Corporation has a commercial kitchen that offers microlending for people wanting to start restaurants and catering businesses.
“Every recipient has a great story,” he concluded. “If you look at why people come to Lowell, they’re looking to make a a better life for themselves. You just have to go down Merrimack Street and there’s a Spanish restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, some of that is just the flavor of the international population. You look at Lowell and its educational institutions and its financial institutions. It truly is a renaissance city that can come back from a dormant past. What you’re gonna start seeing is that international flavor of Lowell and I think there will be more inclusion of businesses.”