NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS CELEBRATES THE SEASON WITH NEW WINTER RECEPTION

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host its first Winter Reception on Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Groton Inn, 128 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450. This holiday gathering will provide an opportunity for Chamber members, dignitaries and community leaders from throughout North Central Massachusetts to mingle and foster relationships in a relaxed and upscale setting. AIS, Inc. is the premier sponsor of the Chamber’s 2018 Winter Reception.

Don’t miss this opportunity to kick off the holiday season with complimentary refreshments, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and festivities. Guests will be able to network with the rolling hills of Groton as the beautiful backdrop for this special evening occasion. The Groton Inn reopened its doors May 2018 after a fire destroyed the original, and America’s oldest inn that dated back to 1678. The new building features architecture honoring the original design while offering 21st century amenities. This a wonderful occasion to tour this newly opened treasure in our own backyard.

Many thanks to AIS, Inc for their generous sponsorship of this evening. The Winter Reception will feature complimentary beer, wine and gourmet hors d’oeurves. In addition, the head bartender will be mixing a specialty cocktail created exclusively for this event. This promises to be an evening to remember.

To register for the Winter Reception, please contact Kathleen at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or email kdeal@northcentralmass.com or register online at northcentralmass.com/calendar.  The cost is just $20 per person for members and $30 per person for non-members. Please RSVP by November 30th.

CHAMBER RECOGNIZED AS FINALIST FOR INDUSTRY INNOVATION AWARD

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has been recognized as a finalist in a competition among more than 200 chambers of all sizes from across the U.S. and Canada.  Entries were judged on creativity, industry impact, value to members, and replicability.

This latest recognition comes on the heels of other industry recognition, including receiving national accreditation earlier this year and being named an “Award of Excellence” winner in the Communications Excellence awards program presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). The Chamber was also named a finalist for the prestigious National Chamber of the Year recognition by ACCE in 2017, the first chamber of commerce in Massachusetts to have been selected as a finalist.

The 5th annual Chamber Innovation Awards Competition, sponsored by a chamber management software provider ChamberMaster, recognizes chambers of commerce for their innovative programs or projects that help to better their communities and members.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce was recognized for their work in providing micro-loans and technical assistance. Through its economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, the chamber is able to provide financing of up to $150,000 for businesses that are not able to obtain traditional financing through banks or credit unions.

“Although we didn’t win this year, we were nonetheless very honored to have been selected as a finalist,” said Roy Nascimento, chamber president & CEO. “To be recognized among our peers is a great acknowledgment of the innovative and impactful work that we are doing to help advance North Central Massachusetts.

Since the Chamber’s program made the top 10, their micro-loan initiative was one of 20 featured into a book by ChamberMaster titled “The Big Book of Chamber Ideas: 10 Award Winning & Replicable Ideas for Chambers of Commerce,” which is sent to chambers internationally for inspiration and idea gathering.

Chamber Adopts New Strategic Plan

At its September meeting, the Board of Directors of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce adopted a new strategic plan designed to serve as a roadmap for the future success of the Chamber and its affiliate organizations over the next three years.

“Our new strategic plan is crafted to take a look towards the future and ensure that we are continuing to meet the needs of our members and region,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president and CEO of the Chamber. “We have set some very aggressive goals around economic development, membership, programming, micro-lending, and regional promotion. Our goals and focus are to make North Central Massachusetts the best region in the state to live, work, raise a family, or build a business.”

The Chamber’s new strategic plan is focused on promoting the region’s strengths, expanding existing businesses and business opportunities, and significantly improving the economic future for all who call North Central Massachusetts home. The strategic plan was prepared as a result of a comprehensive planning process that included input provided by members, the Board, staff and other stakeholders.  The plan, vision, and mission serve as a blueprint for the future success of the Chamber and its affiliate organizations as well as help drive programs, services and value the Chamber is creating for members. The new plan includes areas of focus, goals and quantifiable metrics and targets.

Members can view the new strategic by visiting www.northcentralmass.com/ncmcc-strategic-plan. Programs and projects will be undertaken with care and consideration of actual resources of the Chamber and its members. The plan is also a fluid document that the Chamber will update as needed to reflect the changing world.

A special thanks to all those members who assisted with the development of the business plan, either by completing a membership survey, participating in a meeting, or providing input. Members are encouraged to contact Roy Nascimento at 978.353.7600 or via email at rnascimento@northcentralmass.com with any questions or feedback on the strategic plan.

NEW WEBSITE ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO VISIT NORTH CENTRAL

Visit North Central Massachusetts, an affiliate of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently launched a new website to serve as a resource for visitors from all over the world who are interested in exploring this scenic and dynamic New England region. The new website address is www.VisitNorthCentral.com.

The new site promotes North Central Massachusetts as a desirable place to visit by highlighting what to do; where to stay; where to eat; and the events happening throughout the year. The new site will have a focus on the region’s unique attractions; accessibility from Boston and other major markets; family friendly activities; and the benefits of not only visiting but holding a sporting tournament or corporate event in the region.

The new site features an attractive look and feel, and an intuitive, easy to use menu options to help users easily access the information they are looking for.  The new site is also responsive so it will adapt to the screen size of whatever device is being used for easy viewing and navigation.  The new site was designed by 3MediaWeb, a website design and development company that is a member of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe that we have a great story to tell. North Central Massachusetts is a terrific place to visit, live and grow a business,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president & CEO of Visit North Central Massachusetts. “This new website will be a great tool to help us highlight the region’s many strengths and assets and motivate visitors and local businesses to help us continue as to grow as a destination.”

Chamber Partners with High Schools from the Twin Cities to Promote Manufacturing

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation hosted a manufacturing bus tour on Tuesday October 23, 2018, for 41 students and chaperones from Fitchburg High School and Leominster High School as part of their “Amp It Up!” initiative to promote careers in manufacturing and highlight the importance of manufacturing to North Central Massachusetts.

Attendees on the tour visited AIS, Inc in Leominster and the Mount Wachusett Community College Advanced Manufacturing Campus in Devens, where they were able to get an insider’s look at how manufacturers operate as well as learn about the growing employment opportunities in manufacturing and the necessary skill-sets needed.

“We were excited to work with AIS, Mount Wachusett Community College and the high schools and showcase the employment opportunities that are right here in North Central Massachusetts and the skills needed to be successful,” said Roy Nascimento, president & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We are very encouraged by the response of not only the local educational institutions, but the students themselves to this important industry sector.”

With over 440 firms, North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state.  Fully one-third of all private wages paid in the region are from manufacturing jobs.  Companies range from the world class plastics industry cluster, to pharmaceuticals, photonics, paper, and biomedical devices.

Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, working on advanced equipment and technology.  However, many manufacturers have been challenged recruiting the workers they need.  Despite the high wage potential and increasing employer demand, there is both a need for more young workers and a skills gap among an existing and a transitioning workforce.

The purpose of the “AMP it up!” initiative is to leverage new and existing resources to continue ongoing efforts to reach career counselors, community organizations, youth-serving organizations, educators, and most importantly students throughout North Central Massachusetts.  The Chamber’s “Amp It Up!” initiative is funded in part through a matching grant from MassDevelopment.  Other partners include Fitchburg State University, Mt. Wachusett Community College and school systems throughout the region.  Ongoing efforts to promote manufacturing careers have also included engaging the schools and offering career exploration activities to students, hosting student tours, participating in career day activities and promoting manufacturing via a targeted social media campaign.

For more information on the manufacturing bus tour, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7600.

Fidelity Bank Supports New Micro-Loan Fund

Fidelity Bank has made good on its promise to support small local businesses in the communities of Gardner and Winchendon in recognition of the completion of its merger with Colonial Co-Operative Bank, which had branches in those communities prior to the merger. The merged state chartered, mutually owned financial institution has combined assets of approximately $900 million.

 Fidelity Bank has committed to earmark $300,000 for the establishment of a micro loan fund, to be called The Colonial Bank Loan Fund- a Fidelity Bank Endowment. “We want to honor Colonial Co-operative Bank’s prior commitments to the people of Gardner and Winchendon,” said Fidelity Bank Chairman & CEO Edward F. Manzi Jr. “It aligns well with our LifeDesign promise of being a team of caring people, who take a caring approach, to provide caring solutions.”

The fund will be managed by the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), an affiliate of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, to provide the loans to small businesses in the city of Gardner and the towns of Winchendon and Templeton. “We are very excited to be partnering with Fidelity Bank on the establishment of the new Colonial Bank Loan Fund,” said Roy M. Nascimento, CCE, IOM, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.  “These funds will go a long way in providing local entrepreneurs with the critical infusion of capital that they will need to take their business from dream to reality.”

The Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce will partner with NCMDC to promote the loan fund to businesses in the area. “We are pleased to promote the fund as a resource for new businesses to accelerate their ideas and achieve their ambitions. In large part, small businesses are driving the economic growth in the Greater Gardner region” said Carol Jacobson, President & CEO of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “It is also a fitting tribute to Colonial Co-operative Bank’s rich history of supporting businesses and citizens in Gardner and surrounding towns for more than a century.”

Chamber Welcomes Brendan Hannen to its Professional Staff

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of Brendan Hannen to its professional staff in the position of Micro-Loan Program Manager.

In his new position, Mr. Hannen will be responsible for helping to manage the micro-loan program offered through the Chamber’s economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation.

“We are excited to welcome Brendan to our team,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Brendan will be a great resource to the business community as we look to expand our micro-loan program and help support new and existing small businesses in the region.”

Brendan joins the Chamber from the Ives Group, Inc. where he worked as a Product Manager for the Audit Analytics service. In this role he helped to develop and deliver datasets to major accounting firms and financial institutions for compliance with SEC requirements. Prior to that role he was a Research Analyst where he participated in the research and presentation of published reports on topics including IPOs, Auditor Changes and Going Concern Opinions which have been featured in periodicals including the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch and presented at accounting industry conferences. Earlier in his career he also worked for Millbury Credit Union as a member services representative.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Accounting from Clark University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Worcester State University.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit economic development corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects in 76 communities in Worcester, Middlesex and Franklin Counties with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $6,300,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in the region.

Businesses or community members interested in learning more about the micro-loan program through the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation can reach Brendan at 978.353.7600 ext. 234 or via email at bhannen@northcentralmass.com.

Chamber Partners with Monty Tech to Promote Manufacturing

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation hosted a manufacturing bus tour on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, for 46 students and chaperones from Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School as part of their efforts to promote careers in manufacturing and highlight the importance of manufacturing to North Central Massachusetts.

Attendees on the tour visited NyproMold in Clinton and WestRock in Devens, where they were able to get an insider’s look at how these manufacturers operate as well as learn about the growing employment opportunities in manufacturing and the necessary skill-sets needed.

“We were excited to work with some of our local manufacturers and Monty Tech to get these students into these businesses and see the opportunity that is right here in North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, president & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We are continually looking for new ways to promote this important industry sector to the next generation that will be quickly entering the workforce.”

With over 440 firms, North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state.  Fully one-third of all private wages paid in the region are from manufacturing jobs.  Companies range from the world class plastics industry cluster, to pharmaceuticals, photonics, paper, and biomedical devices.

Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, working on advanced equipment and technology.  However, many manufacturers have been challenged recruiting the workers they need.  Despite the high wage potential and increasing employer demand, there is both a need for more young workers and a skills gap among an existing and a transitioning workforce.

For more information on the manufacturing bus tours, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at 978.353.7600.

 

November Edition of Good Morning North Central features U.S. Small Business Adminstration Official

The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, November 16, 2018 from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The September edition is sponsored by the Doubletree by Hilton, Leominster.

The Good Morning North Central series is a high-profile, fast-paced and educational breakfast program geared towards executives, senior managers, professionals and business owners.  Each of the programs has a business-oriented focus and features popular speakers to present on topics of interest to local businesses.

The featured speakers for the November edition are Christian McMahan, the new President of Wachusett Brewing Company and Robert Nelson, District Director for the U.S. Small Business Association.

Christian McMahan joined Wachusett Brewing Company as its President in June of 2017. He began his career in the beer industry in sales working with Boston Beer Company and then went on to serve as Vice President of Marketing for Diageo and Chief Marketing Officer for Heineken USA.  Founded in Westminster in 1994, Wachusett has grown to become the 2nd largest packaging brewer in Massachusetts and was named one of the top 50 largest craft breweries in the United States in 2017.

Robert H. Nelson was appointed district director of SBA’s Massachusetts District Office on November 26, 2007. As district director, Mr. Nelson is responsible for the effective delivery of SBA’s financial and business development programs with a mission to counsel, assist and protect the interest of small business statewide in order to maintain and strengthen the economy. He has 25 years of federal service, 19 of which have been with the SBA.

The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Kathleen Deal at 978.353.7600 ext. 235, kdeal@northcentralmass.com or visit www.northcentralmass.com/news/calendar-of-events/.

 North Central Mass Development Corp Lends to Two New Local Businesses

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) granted a $19,000 micro-loan to Charles Simmons, owner of Simmons & Sinclair Logistics located in Leominster, to assist with the purchase of a tractor.  Simmons & Sinclair Logistics will offer local and long-distance transportation for a variety of products to include wood and metals.  Ray Belanger, Director of Small Business at NewVue Communities in Fitchburg assisted Charles with his business plan and projections. This loan was a referral from Workers Credit Union and will create one job.

Winston Burrell received a $5,000 loan from NCMDC to start Barrington’s Autumn, a home-based business located in Lunenburg. With many years in the medical industry and having researched various approaches to holistic health, Winston recently started Barrington’s Autumn and will specialize in environmentally friendly, dye-free essential oils and fragrances to promote healing and wellness.  This $5,000 loan will assist Winston with purchasing inventory and marketing expenses. For more information visit www.Barringtonsautumn.com.  Winston also worked NewVue Communities on his business plan and projections.  This loan was a referral from NewVue Communities and will create one new job.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $150,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.