Integration Institute: Business Resources
Business Development Resources
The sections below offer links to state, local and national resources and information for both immigrant entrepreneurs and financial partners and lenders. The majority of the business development services provided by state and local government as well as nonprofit organizations are free of charge, and many target the needs of small and minority-owned businesses. Many community-based organizations, including ethnic minority organizations and community development corporations, also offer English language classes, skills training, career advising, and business development consulting. Ethnic and neighborhood business associations and chambers of commerce can also provide members with a source of local and regional business information, technical assistance, peer support, advocacy, and marketing opportunities.
- Resources for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
- Resources for Financial Partners and Lenders
- Regional and Ethnic/Minority Business Associations
Business Development Information and Assistance
- The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) Network provides one-to-one free comprehensive and confidential services focusing on business growth and strategies, financing and loan assistance, and strategic, marketing and operational analysis.
- The Massachusetts State Supplier Diversity Office helps promote the development of business enterprises and non-profit organizations owned and operated by minorities or women.
- The Massachusetts Office of Business Development is a state office that facilitates access to resources and incentive programs to support the growth of businesses in Massachusetts.
- The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) promotes local and regional economic development initiatives of CDCs around the state, including small business development. MACDC supports members offering training, technical assistance and access to capital to small businesses and micro enterprises, including those from immigrant communities and economically disadvantaged urban and rural areas.
- The Massachusetts Office of Business Development houses the Boston Loan Development Corporation.
- The Boston Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a business counseling service working in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Association.
- An important new initiative for immigrant entrepreneurs is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) "Entrepreneurs in Residence" program. USCIS has also created an Entrepreneur Pathways web portal that addresses immigration issues facing entrepreneurs coming to the U.S.
- The Boston Redevelopment Association's Back Streets program is designed to support small and medium-sized industrial and commercial businesses that help form the city's economic backbone.
- Immpreneur is website which "helps immigrants build their American dream" and is geared specifically toward immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S., including links to state-specific resources.
- The Boston Entrepreneurs' Network is a special interest group of the Boston section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; their goal is to connect early stage entrepreneurs with information and resources necessary to transform an idea into a successful product or service business.
- Entrepreneur.com, the website of Entrepreneur magazine, provides information, online tools and other resources for entrepreneurs and business owners on how to start, grow, and operate a business.
- The Springfield Business Incubator is a facility with rental space for small businesses and start-ups.
- The Enterprise Center at Salem State College provides resources and information for entrepreneurs on Boston's North Shore.
- The Western Union Foundation supports immigrant entrepreneurs through its diaspora development project.
- The Worcester-based Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Empowerment Center serves as an incubator for central Massachusetts start-ups and small businesses.
Information and Resources for Access to Capital
- The Massachusetts Banking Partners Small Business Loan Program is a small business loan program designed to improve access to financing by very small businesses that are receiving one-on-one assistance and training from small business assistance providers, especially where the businesses are located in low- or moderate-income census tracts and/or require small loan sizes.
- The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation was created by act of the Governor in 2010 to help create and preserve jobs at small businesses, women and minority owned businesses, and to promote economic development in underserved, gateway municipalities and low and moderate income communities.
- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston's Community Development Advances (CDA) support a variety of economic development and mixed use initiatives including loans for small businesses, social-service or public-facility initiatives, and infrastructure improvements.
- The Massachusetts Capital Access Program (CAP), operated by BDC Capital Corporation, is designed to help small businesses (with less than $5 million in revenues) throughout Massachusetts obtain loans from participating banks.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Programs offer a variety of lending opportunities, including short-term microloans and loans from certified community-based partners.
- The R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Effective, Asset-Building, Loyalty-Producing) Solutions national credit union initiative is designed to foster and promote new and innovative financial services.
- Angel Healthcare Investors is a group of executives and entrepreneurs investing in life sciences and healthcare companies.
- Bay Angels Investment Group provides early-stage funding to high growth companies in southern Massachusetts.
- ACCION USA is a microfinance institution with programs specifically targeting immigrant entrepreneurs.
- Hub Angels investment group supports companies in financial services, healthcare, water treatment and biotechnology.
- Launchpad Venture Group provides start-up loans exclusively to Boston-based companies.
- River Valley Investors focuses on companies in Western Massachusetts.
- Walnut Venture Associates provides start-up investment funding.
- Federal grants for small businesses advancing technology are provided through the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program.
- The Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs works specifically with low-income entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses.
- Beacon Angels investment group focuses on small high-growth companies.
- Boston Harbor Angels investment group specializes in companies in high-tech fields such as medical devices, business products, IT, internet and aviation.
- Boynton Angels investment group works with Worcester-area businesses.
- Common Angels investment group focuses on high-tech companies.
- Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund provides grants for training of employees working in small businesses.
- Small business and microloans for local and regional businesses, including loans funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, may be available through these Massachusetts financial institutions:
Banking and Financial Literacy Information
- Basic Banking for Massachusetts, a voluntary program intended to expand people's access to bank products and services.
- Basic information for Massachusetts consumers on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)--matched savings accounts that allow people to save, build assets and enter the financial mainstream--is available at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and The Midas Collaborative.
- The Massachusetts Financial Literacy group is an online community supporting financial education opportunities:
- Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) allow immigrants without social security numbers to pay taxes confidentially and build a credit history. Information on how to apply for an ITIN.
- The HarborOne Credit Union in Brockton, MA hosts a MultiCultural Banking Center to help move people into mainstream banking products.
- Mass Saves is a website with links to many other helpful banking resources for Massachusetts residents.
- Banking On Our Future is an online education program focusing on banking, budgeting, credit, investments and savings and checking accounts.
- The National Credit Union Administration is dedicated to facilitating the availability of credit union services to all eligible consumers, especially those of modest means.
- Success Measures is a program geared toward providing financial education for consumers.
- The Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) leads an Immigrant Financial Justice Network, which works to eliminate barriers for immigrants.
- The FDIC offers the free Money Smart course, to help banks fulfill their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act by training adults outside the financial mainstream how to enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Center for the Study of Financial Access for Immigrants has published information on best practices, industry approaches to reaching the immigrant market and community innovations in moving immigrants into the financial mainstream.
- The 2010 Kauffman Report on entrepreneurship offers research on the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs.
- A Forbes article on the importance of investing in immigrant entrepreneurs is "The Implications of Immigrant Entrepreneurship."
- The Small Business Association's report on the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy.
- New York City's Economic Development Corporation recently sponsored a business plan competition offering $100,000 to immigrant-owned and operated small businesses.
- A popular service not yet available in Massachusetts is the community-led credit-scoring model pioneered by the Hispanic National Mortgage Association in San Diego, CA
Regional and Ethnic/Minority Business Associations
- Directory of Chambers of Commerce in Massachusetts. Alphabetical listings by town/region from MassHome.com
- Global Business Alliance of New England. Focuses on connecting organizations in New England that promote international business and trade relations
- Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Boston. Supports the growth of Haitian-American small businesses. Member login only.
- Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce. Supports economic development and success of the Hispanic business community in New England. HACC hosts seminars and networking meetings, business education and assistance programs, government and industry forums, social events and charitable activities.
- Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce. Provides training, technical assistance, and mentoring services for members (site includes information by town/locality).
- North Shore Latino Business Association. A nonprofit association of merchants serving Latino business owners on the North Shore.