Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative Stephen Kulik (D- Worthington) announce that the Massachusetts Department of Business and Technology’s (DBT) Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (OSB&E) has awarded the Hilltown Community Development Corporation (Hilltown CDC) a $30,000 Technical Assistance grant.
Senator Downing applauded the award by saying, “The Hilltown CDC is an established local resource for helping small businesses succeed and grow. People come here to receive valuable business training on a wide range of topics from website development to tax planning. This funding will allow the CDC to further advance the goals of local small businesses.”
In 2007, the Small Business Technical Assistance Grant program awarded over $1.6 million statewide, this year approximately $830,000 will be disbursed to provide technical assistance or training programs to businesses with 20 employees or less. Grants are awarded to community development corporations, community development financial institutions or non-profit community based organizations assisting small businesses to grow and retain jobs. The Hilltown CDC is one of the 25 non-profit economic development organizations awarded funding this year.
Representative Kulik remarked, “Strong and successful small businesses are a vital part of the Hilltown economy and the Hilltown CDC has a long track record of providing technical assistance and support to hundreds of individuals and companies. This state grant will allow the CDC to continue this important work in building a stronger regional economy.”
With the support of this grant money, Hilltown CDC will be able to expand its micro-enterprise business training program to offer services to small businesses with up to 20 employees. In the rural hilltowns in its service area that lie mostly in Hampshire County, that threshold includes nearly every business.
Andrew Baker, the executive director at Hilltown CDC said, “We are thrilled to be awarded small business training funds by the Department of Business and Technology for a second year in a row. This $30,000 grant allows Hilltown CDC to continue offering training classes, counseling and one-to-one technical assistance services to virtually every business in our 11-town service area. We look forward to helping more business start-up and assisting new businesses in moving to higher levels of effectiveness and profitability.”
A few examples of small businesses recently assisted by Hilltown CDC include:
- Business owners of Delights of the Earth, a small manufacturer of scented bath and body products, received one-to-one help with marketing, production planning, retail presentation and financial analysis of the planned growth of the business.
- An unemployed machinist started Specialty Sealing Service, providing asphalt sealing to residential and commercial customers and attended multiple CDC classes and received one-to-one technical assistance on marketing and business planning.
- A building contractor received one-to-one technical assistance on pricing and estimating, contracts and change orders, recordkeeping and financial analysis, and took Hilltown CDC’s Introduction to Quickbooks class.
- A talented seamstress took CDC’s Business Planning class, sought one-to-one technical assistance and started Lucky Stitches offering sewing workshops and instruction. Hilltown CDC provided training and technical assistance on website design, marketing, and optimization; financial analysis and marketing.