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Startup Resources: Small Business Strong, Pro-Bono Resources

Small Business Strong is a statewide initiative in Massachusetts, composed of numerous organizations from various industries working together to provide free business resources to minority and women-owned small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Although this organization may not be the perfect fit for every startup in the Boston ecosystem, it is yet another example of the broader Boston business community coming together to help support our own.

The organization has compiled an online database with a wealth of information on financing, access to federal and state loans and grants, digital transformation for Massachusetts-based businesses, and much more. In addition to free access to these resources, Small Business Strong has built a team of functional specialists and business advisers with experience in all areas of business and finance so that individuals and businesses can receive personalized advice, all at no cost.

Small Business Strong’s Goal and History

Small Business Strong was born in the spring of 2020 when members of public and private communities saw the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts. More than seventeen organizations and one hundred individuals quickly came together with a common mission: to stand together and support small businesses that urgently needed resources. Small Business Strong states that it passionately provides experiences and resources not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is part of the moral framework of the business and entrepreneurial community in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

The organization is still active today and in 2021 they published their “Impact Report” highlighting the companies and industries they have been able to help most, as well as the work they continue to do in the greater Boston area.

Resources Provided by Small Business Strong

Small Business Strong offers applicants a wide variety of resources across the business spectrum, as well as for a diverse range of industries. These resources include federal funding programs, loan comparisons analysis, veteran’s resources, state and local funding programs, corporate grants, finance and expense management, COVID-19 tax credit analysis, as well other management resources for business owners and entrepreneurs. These services have been provided for applicants across the technology, agriculture, logistics, retail, hospitality, construction, and food services sectors.

Individuals on the SBS team, mainly Business Advisors and Function Specialists, provide these services and resources directly to applicants.

  • Business Advisors – The Business Advisor (BA) triages with small business owners to help diagnose their most critical business needs based on their financial information and supporting data, and provides overall recommendations for next steps. Many BAs own small businesses themselves and are multilingual, and all have the cultural competency to deliver the best services to those who have sought out the reassurance of being heard and understood.

  • Functional Specialists – The Functional Specialist (FS) engages with small business owners in a core area of expertise, providing them with guidance and recommendations based on their specific business needs and characteristics. Many of the FSs come from the Steering Committee organizations and each is a subject matter expert in their field, allowing small businesses direct access to free specialist advice and guidance.

Small Business Strong Success Stories

As of November 2021, Small Business Strong had provided support and guidance to over 1,174 small businesses and entrepreneurs. Out of this large total, 71.2% have been minority or women-owned businesses, and services are provided in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Since inception, the organization has logged over 5,500 hours working directly with entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth.

Who Runs Small Business Strong?

Small Business Strong was created by a large and diverse group of companies and individuals from across the Commonwealth including the following, to name just a few: Eastern Bank, State Street, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, McKinsey & Company, PwC, MassMutual, Nutter Law, the Foundation of Business Equity, the Boston Foundation, Suffolk Construction, The Urban Labs, J.P. Morgan, Flowetik, National Grid, and Bain Capital.

The Steering Committee is made up of business leaders, entrepreneurs, lecturers, and community members from around the Boston area, which can be found here. This committee includes individuals who represent such companies as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Bank of America, State Street, Foundation for Business Equity, Bain Capital Double Impact, The Boston Foundation and more.

Learn More About Small Business Strong

Startup Boston looks forward to seeing how Small Business Strong will continue to help entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Boston area thrive as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond!

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