Chamber Updates

MINI-GRANTS:  The Chamber, in partnership with New Vue Communities, has launched a new mini-grant program to support small businesses in the region with their recovery and/or growth. The program provides small grants between $500 to $5,000 that can be used for any professional services that will help the small business. Examples of professional services that the grant can help cover include accounting/bookkeeping, marketing, new signage, and legal services. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until September 30, 2021 or until grant funds have been expended. Please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978.353.7600 Ext. 232 for more information or to request an application.

NEW LOANS: The Chamber’s economic Development arm – the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) – has approved twenty traditional micro-loans since October, 2020 for a total of $905,200.  The loans were made to a mix of start-up and existing small businesses that were unable to secure financing from traditional sources.  In addition, the NCMDC also provided sixty-four Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans since October totaling $849,840.62 and helped submit another forty-six PPP loans through participating lenders.  Our loans helped create 38 new jobs and saved 158 jobs.

LOAN PROGRAM EXPANSION: The NCMDC Board voted to increase the maximum size of loans to $250,000 and expand its loan program to include commercial real estate mortgages. The real estate loans can be used for a first mortgage for purchase, rehab or expansion of an existing structure or a second mortgage with a participating financial institution.  The fixed rate loans will be provided with flexible terms, low fees and interest rates as low as 1%.  Monthly payments will also be deferred for up to one year on the loans. Please contact Sandie Cataldo or Maribel Cruz at 978.353.7600 for more information.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE:  Our team has provided over 2,200 hours of direct technical assistance to small businesses so far this year.  The technical assistance has been delivered face to face, as well as via phone and ZOOM.  In addition, the Chamber has resumed hosting representatives from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development; MassDevelopment; the Small Business Development Center; and other partners for confidential counseling and technical assistance. Members interested in receiving technical assistance or counseling from the Chamber or one of its partners should contact 978.353.7600 Ext. 222 to schedule an appointment.

CHAMBER FOUNDATION: The Chamber and NCMDC Boards each approved contributions of $25,000 to the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation. The Foundation is the Chamber’s charitable affiliate and supports education and community development efforts in the region. The contributions will help build up and strengthen the foundation’s endowment.

CHAMBER PODCAST: The Chamber continues to record new interviews with business and community leaders for its “Inside North Central Massachusetts” podcast series. The podcast is available for downloading via PodBean and Apple Podcasts.

CHAMBER GIFT CARDS: As we want to encourage consumers to shop and eat at local businesses as much as possible, we have eliminated the purchase fee charged when anyone buys a Gift Local Gift Card. We are also continuing to waive the processing fee for members who accept the cards. Members interested in purchasing gift cards as employee and client gifts this holiday season should contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 Ext. 222 to place their orders.

MEMBER DISCOUNTS: Members interested in offering a discount on our Member to Member Discount page should email Lauren Goulet at with the “Member Discount” in the subject line.