Scholarships Available through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation

 The North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation is pleased to announce that applications for its 2017 Scholarship program are now being accepted.  Each year, the Chamber Foundation distributes approximately 25 scholarships to local high-achieving high school students in North Central Massachusetts.  Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships.

Students interested in applying for a 2017 scholarship through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation should contact their high school guidance department to submit an application.  Deadline for applications is Friday, February 24, 2017.  A limited number of scholarship applicants are submitted by each school in the Chamber’s service area each year and then reviewed by a committee of Chamber members.

Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and proceeds from the Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament.  Scholarships endowed through the Chamber Foundation are often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community whose philanthropy and commitment to the community have helped shape North Central Massachusetts.

The Chamber’s Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Foundation are utilized primarily for education/workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts, including scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing education and grants to support economic and community development projects.

For more information on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program or a list of the named scholarships, please visit northcentralmass.com or call 978.353.7600 ext. 222.

Photo caption: Pictured are the recipients of the 2016 Chamber Foundation scholarships. From left to right (Jennifer Mueller, Silvio Angustia, Hannah Bagley, Taylor Sadowski, ­­­Jasmine McGillicuddy, Lillian Moore-Eissenberg, Deidre Kennedy, Dylan Nadeau, Thu Nguyen, Juan Bermudez, Bethany Sefakis, Patrick Casey, Shale Carey, Jacob DeCarolis, Elizabeth Moison, David Fitzpatrick, Elena Arciprette, Chloe Adler-Mandile, Kelley Connors, Lauren Basque, Natalie Proctor, Stephanie Palis, Hannah Burns)

Chamber Welcomes Fitchburg State University Intern Kevin Tomasetti

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Kevin Tomasetti as an intern at the Chamber’s headquarters this semester. Kevin is currently a senior at the Fitchburg State University majoring in Business with a concentration in Management and a minor in Honors.  His interest in entrepreneurship drew him to the Chamber for his internship.

Kevin decided to go back to school back in 2013 to better position himself to take over his family business, ACT Fastening Solutions, and is currently scheduled to graduate in May.  At Fitchburg State Kevin is also the Treasurer of Sigma Beta Delta, International Business Honor Society, Fitchburg State Chapter. Kevin is married and the father of two kids; Joey, who is 4 ½ years old, and Arianna, who will be 2 years old on Feb 13th. During his internship Kevin will be working on a Pitch Contest through a partnership with the Chamber and Fitchburg State. He will also be working with the Development Corporation on a variety of projects surrounding the lending process.  Through his internship Kevin will gain more knowledge, develop relationships with the local business community, and create a partnership that will grow and benefit everyone as he continues on his career path towards being a leader in the North Central Massachusetts community.

“We are excited to welcome Kevin as part of our team this semester,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the Chamber.  “He is a bright and ambitious student who will benefit from his time working with our members and supporting the advancement of North Central Massachusetts. I have no doubt that he will make a positive contribution to our organization.”

Chamber Welcomes Fitchburg State University Intern Kayla DeLuca

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Kayla DeLuca as an intern at the Chamber’s headquarters this semester. Kayla is currently a junior at the Fitchburg State University majoring in Communications with a concentration in Professional Communications. Her interest in event planning and hospitality drew her to the Chamber for this internship opportunity.

Kayla is a native of Pepperell and graduated from North Middlesex Regional High School. She is a member of the dean’s list at Fitchburg State University, is currently the Vice President of Operations for Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority, and a Resident Assistant at Fitchburg State.  As part of her internship, Kayla will be learning a variety of aspects of the Chamber and its affiliates. She will gain hands on learning experience by assisting with helping to organize special events and programs including the Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament.

“We are excited to welcome Kayla as part of our team this semester,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the Chamber.  “She is a bright and ambitious student who will benefit from her time working with our members and supporting the advancement of North Central Massachusetts. I have no doubt that she will make a positive contribution to our organization.”

Kayla was connected to the Chamber through Fitchburg State University Professor, Mike Greenwood. Professor Greenwood has worked with the Chamber for many years through their Community Leadership Institute and is currently the Director of Business Administration Internship Program. Please contact the Chamber at 978-353-7600 ext. 244 for more information.

Getting to Know Your Credit Scheduled for Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host its first “Getting to Know Your Credit” seminar on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Chamber’s headquarters located at 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA. This free presentation is designed to help businesses owners understand their credit and its importance to running a small business. This seminar is sponsored and presented by Digital Federal Credit Union

Discussions will include: What is credit and how is it calculated? What is “good credit” versus “bad credit” and “good debt” versus “bad debt”? There is a mistake on your credit report, how do you get it removed? You don’t have a great credit history and want to make some changes, how do you remedy this? Your personal credit and business credit are linked, but how?

While the program is free, registration is recommended to prepare for all attendees arrival. Register online at www.northcentralmass.com/news/calendar-of-events. Questions should be directed to Maria McCaffrey, events & programs manager, 978.353.7600 ext 235 or mmccaffrey@northcentralmass.com.

Prepare for Open Enrollment with Health Insurance Fair

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Health Insurance Fair on February 7, 2017 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Chamber office, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA.  This Q&A fair will give business owners and subscribers an opportunity to meet with insurance carriers and ask questions about their plans, and understand choices and options as we head into the 2017 open enrollment period.  The Chamber offers health and dental plans through most major carrier in Massachusetts including:  Tufts Health Plan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Neighborhood Health Plan, Health New England, Fallon and  dental coverage from Ameritas, Delta, and Altus.

“With the ever changing landscape of health insurance, we are excited to offer our members a chance to sit down and speak with members of the industry and help give them some clarity,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to assist local businesses with their health and dental needs is just another avenue we are helping advance the business community in North Central Massachusetts.”

We are here to assist business owners in finding affordable medical and dental plans to manage their healthcare costs and retain valuable employees. Whether you’re a large business, a small business, or a sole proprietor, then we can assist with your health insurance needs.

The Health Insurance Fair will be open to members and non-members who may be looking to change their health or dental coverage this upcoming open enrollment period, of April 1st.

There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is encouraged. For additional information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 222 or ext. 235 or visit online at www.northcentralmass.com.

Johnny Appleseed Trail Association hosting Second Annual Tourism Update Breakfast

Johnny Appleseed Trail Association hosting Second Annual Tourism Update Breakfast
Forum to bring together tourism related businesses and organizations in the region

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the second annual Tourism Update Breakfast being held on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at Great Wolf Lodge New England, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA. This exciting and fast paced breakfast event features industry experts who will share their professional insights on marketing North Central Massachusetts. The 2017 breakfast program is sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge New England.

Lori Harnois, Executive Director of Discover New England, will discuss international travel and how international travelers have a huge impact on local businesses. Discover New England, founded in 1992, works in partnership with the state tourism offices of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont to promote New England tourism internationally. Harnois received her Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Planning and Development, with a minor in Sociology, from the University of New Hampshire. She has 17 years of experience in the field of marketing, promotions and operations. Previously, she worked for the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development holding such roles as Director and International Marketing Manager. Through these roles she was responsible for promoting New Hampshire as a domestic and international travel destination in order to increase visitation, travel expenditures, business activity, and employment throughout the state. She also oversaw the NH Bureau of Visitor Services. She is a board member of the US Travel Association, the Eastern State Exposition, and a member of the Granite State Ambassadors.

North Central’s own Ned LaFortune, President of Wachusett Brewery will provide an industry update and highlight the brewery’s marketing efforts. Wachusett Brewery has grown exponentially since coming together in 1993 and is now one of the leaders of the craft beer market in New England. As one of the founders, Ned will also discuss the brewery’s impact and partnerships which support tourism growth throughout North Central Massachusetts.

Tony D’Agostino, has been with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism for more than ten years as the Director of Research. In that time, D’Agostino’s main projects have been related to studying the volume of tourists, visitors and the economic impact of tourism spending in Massachusetts. These reports support the marketing initiatives and activities of the sixteen regional tourism councils across the Commonwealth. Mr. D’Agostino’s presentation will highlight visitor trends, top visitor markets and the impact of tourism for the state and region.

“Tourism is important to the future of North Central Massachusetts and plays an increasingly important role in our local economy” said Roy Nascimento, president of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “We organize this annual program as a way to bring tourism related stakeholders in the region together to share best practices, learn new trends in the industry and to take advantage of new opportunities to better market local businesses and the region to visitors.”

The Tourism Update Breakfast is open to all community members and will run from 7:30 am to 9:30 am. The cost is just $20 for JATA and North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce members/$30 for non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Registration can be done online at www.northcentralmass.com. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978-353-7600 ext. 235 or visit http://www.northcentralmass.com.

NEW WEBSITE ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO CHOOSE NORTH CENTRAL

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation recently launched a new website to serve as a resource for existing businesses, startups and companies that are considering expanding or relocating to North Central Massachusetts. The new website address is www.choosenorthcentral.com.

The new site promotes North Central Massachusetts as a desirable place to do business by highlighting the region’s affordability, accessibility to Boston and other major markets; strong workforce; superb quality of life; and its manufacturing cluster.  Visitors to the site can look up pertinent demographics on the region as well as find information on small business loans, technical assistance and other services available through the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and its partners.  A collection of short case studies is also included that highlights examples of companies that have successfully relocated or expanded in North Central Massachusetts.

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 live and grow a business,” said Roy M. Nascimento, IOM, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “This new website will be a great tool to help us highlight the region’s many strengths and assets and motivate people to grow their business here.”

Along with the new website, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation has recently undergone a rebranding and has expanded its loan programs to include an SBA micro-loan fund, a new express loan program, a second chance loan initiative and has grown its technical assistance offerings for new and established small businesses in the region.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts.  The NCMDC acts as a connector, facilitator and partner and works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  The NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program and is a micro-loan intermediary for the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4.2 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

 

For more information about the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation please call 978.353.7600 or visit www.choosenorthcentral.com.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Partner to boost Small Business Development

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce have announced a new partnership to bring additional micro lending resources closer to young companies in the City of Worcester and the southern region of Worcester County.

The collaboration involves the NCMDC providing start-up and existing small businesses in Worcester with access to its microloan financing programs, which provide loans of up to $50,000 to help businesses that may not meet the traditional lending standards.  The Worcester Regional Chamber, along with its partner affiliates – the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of Central Mass South, Wachusett Area Chamber of Commerce and Webster-Dudley-Oxford Chamber of Commerce will provide the NCMDC with marketing support in their communities and a presence in their office for their loan officers to counsel potential clients.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation’s microloan program adds to a variety of small business resources the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate partners currently provides through its partnerships with SCORE, the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center at Clark University (MSBDC), the Worcester Business Development Corporation, and the Worcester Business Resource Alliance.

“This partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation enhances the resources provided by the Chamber to support entrepreneurs and start-ups who are so important to Worcester and the region’s economic growth,” said Timothy P. Murray, President & CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “These microloans will provide entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with the critical infusion of capital that they need to take their business from dream to reality.”

“Our microloan program has had a profound impact on our business community in North Central Massachusetts. We have a long and successful history of supporting small businesses with financial resources and technical assistance,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “We are excited to partner with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to expand our lending to the Worcester area and help support the small and emerging businesses there that help drive the economy forward.”

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation 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 with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4.3 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.  In addition, these funds were leveraged with local financial institutions providing $14.8 Million of their funds and local investors and business owners providing another $3.2 Million. Thousands of new jobs have been created in the region as a result of the loans made.

Microloan programs have become increasingly important to the business community since the economic collapse in 2008 that put more restrictions on how banks can serve small business loans. Micro loans made by the NCMDC can be used for working capital, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures and refinancing of business credit card debt. Eligible businesses include manufacturing, retail, wholesale and service businesses usually having five employees or less at the time of application and meeting the definition of small business. The interest rates are flexible, but generally close to the current fixed market rate.

NCMDC loan officers will be available via appointment to serve the needs of new clients in the Worcester area. To schedule an appointment, please contact the NCMDC at 978.353.7607 or contact the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce at 508.753.2924.

All-Day Workshops Scheduled for Entrepreneurs in Devens, MA with Special Guest Speaker Senator Jamie Eldridge

 

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and North Middlesex Savings Bank are holding two business workshops on January 25, 2017 aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

These free workshops are approximately 2 hours each and are being held in partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, SCORE, NewVue Communities, Center For Women & Enterprise, and the Town of Ayer’s Economic Development Office.  Both workshops will each run approximately two and a half hours and will be held at the Mount Wachusett Community College Devens Campus, 27 Jackson Rd, Devens on Wednesday, January 25.

“Financial literacy for small business owners is key to making smart business decisions given that financial services are often made in-house by small businesses,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “Small businesses are the backbone of local economies across Massachusetts, and workshops like these provide people with the necessary knowledge and tools for financial success.”

Session I: Fundamentals in Planning, Preparing, and Financing Your Business will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will focus on evaluating and understanding the fundamentals of owning one’s own business.  Information on how to get started, where and how to get financing and the loan application process will be presented.  Registration begins at 8:00. Continental breakfast will be provided for all participants.  Presented by Bob Aspel, SCORE
Session II: Understanding the Purpose of Financial Statements and How They Can Help Determine the Health of Your Business will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will focus on understanding a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.  The workshop will also explain how a small business owner can anticipate financial needs in order to operate his/her business more efficiently.  Registration begins at 11:30. Lunch will be provided for all participants. Presented by Robert C. Alario, CPA

 

To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978-353-7607 ext. 232 or SCataldo@northcentralmass.com.  You may also register online at northcentralmass.com.

Johnny Appleseed Country Receives National Recognition from Sports Industry

SportsEvents Media Group, the leading industry publication focused exclusively on helping sporting event planners produce excellent competitions in the United States, has announced Johnny Appleseed Country as one of its 2017 Readers’ Choice Award winners.  Winners were announced in the January 2017 issue of SportsEvents.  This is the second year in a row that Johnny Appleseed Country has received the award.

Sports event professionals were asked to nominate destinations and sports venues that they believe display exemplary creativity and professionalism toward the groups they host. Nominations were received from readers throughout the year, and the top picks were selected based on results from an online voting system.

“To be recognized nationally by the industry professionals who plan sporting events every day is very exciting and humbling,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “It’s very rewarding to see our hard work to position North Central Massachusetts as a premier destination for amateur sporting events and competitions be recognized with this honor.”

“It is clear, based on our readers’ experiences, that these award winners are willing to go above and beyond typical service levels to help sports event planners produce outstanding events that participants, their families and spectators will want to experience again and again,” said John Rezell, executive editor of SportsEvents

Sporting events is a market that has been targeted for growth in North Central Massachusetts.  According to the National Association of Sports Commissions, travel sports spending nationally amounted to nearly $9 billion last year.

Families, athletes and attendees spend nights in hotels, fill restaurants and take in the local sights while attending a tournament or amateur sports event. This generates tax dollars for local communities, creates jobs, and contributes to economic vitality of the communities in the region. Sporting events can have a significant economic impact, but is a highly competitive market. The region is well positioned to benefit from the sporting industry with many high quality sports facilities and amenities.

The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association has worked collectively with local communities, economic development officials and attractions in the region on marketing efforts to target event organizers and other decision makers in the sports industry.

The tourism industry is the third largest industry in Massachusetts, and a major driver for the North Central Massachusetts economy. Tourists spend $127 million a year in North Central Massachusetts, supporting thousands of jobs, local businesses and providing millions of dollars in local tax revenue.