CDBG-CV Grant ~ Microenterprise Funding Success Stories
The Town of Ashland was the lead community and part of a 23 community consortium that received $4,950,000 for the CDBG-HUD competitive Microenterprise Grant. This grant was available to small businesses of 5 or fewer employees who met the State LMI (Low to Medium Income) level for two years. Preference was given to minority, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
Together, we administered funding to approximately 360 small businesses in the communities of Ashland, Beverly, Burlington, Canton, Concord, Dedham, Essex, Lexington, Manchester by the Sea, Marlborough, Melrose, Milton, Natick, North Reading, Norwood, Randolph, Reading, Sharon, Southborough, Stoneham, Watertown, Winchester and Woburn.
21 Ashland businesses were assisted with this grant equaling $370,000. Below are success stories from businesses that received this grant funding.
“I want to take this time of Thanksgiving to thank you again for your support and care for my small woman owned business. I could not survive this pandemic without your help to get the grants from the town. I am so honored to be a part of this town and to help with the growth of a diverse, inclusive, and happy community and to serve the seniors.” ~ Gloria Davila, owner of Perfectly Balanced Life in Canton, MA
“The two Small Business Grants I received were a life boat for my business. In precarious times, I certainly appreciate the assistance so that GOODNESS REMEDIES is still here after the past couple rough years. And I am so appreciative to the town of Southboro and Marijke!” : Nancy Engel, owner of local Southborough Business and micro enterprise grant recipient.
“The grant couldn't have come at a better time. Our computer crashed so we needed to upgrade, then the upgrade wasn't compatible with our color copier, so we ended up getting a rebuilt copier. Without the grant, I would have considered closing our doors”: Owner of a small Southborough printing business and micro enterprise grant recipient.
“Thank you for all your support in bringing awareness of this program to the businesses of our community. For businesses like mine, that are largely in person with our clients, this grant program was the breath of life that allowed our continuing-on during the COVID pandemic. I know we are all ever so grateful to you, to the staff at MGCC and to all involved who worked tirelessly to help small businesses through this most challenging period”: Molly Ryan, owner of Richer Life Journey in Southborough and micro enterprise grant recipient.
"Thanks to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) our business, Ceramica Paint Studio, has been able to keep afloat over the past year+. Our small business opened October 2018 and a little over a year later COVID hit. Cerámica’s main service had been birthday parties, brush and sip and group events. Our main financial streamline was permanent on hold for the unforeseeable future. As many businesses did, we pivoted and moved our painting pottery business online and delivered painting kits to the community. This was done by tapping into our personal savings and credit cards.The grants have been able to pay for credit cards, invoices from our supply vendors and rent. Thanks to the CDBG grants we are getting back on our feet." ~ Claudia Arnoff Prodero, Owner of Ceramica in Stoneham
"I am the owner and founder of Bare Fitness LLC, located in Stoneham, Mass. It took many years for me to find the courage and the resources to start my own business. When I first opened Bare Fitness, I couldn’t have imagined day-to-day obstacles and potential long-term repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. My years of fitness instruction and working in business had not prepared me for the challenges that would come. The effects of the pandemic shook my confidence as an entrepreneur and threatened the success of my dream. It has been nearly two years since the start of the pandemic, and Bare Fitness is still open and steadily growing. My dream could easily have been derailed. But when Bare Fitness needed a lifeline, the support of the Stoneham Chamber of Commerce and a grant from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation helped my business survive. I am both grateful for and proud of the assistance I have received from these organizations. I put everything on the line to live my dream. Having the support of those in the community where I live and work in allows me to give back to that community. As a woman and a minority small business owner, I aspire to set a positive example by inspiring others to live their dreams." ~ Laura Williamson, Owner Bare Fitness LLC, 38 Montvale Ave. Suite G-60, Stoneham, MA 02180 617-839-5094(T) www.barefitnesspilates.com
MOBD Regional Pilot Program Success Stories
The MA Office of Business Development (MOBD) announced a regional Pilot Program Grant opportunity in 2021 in response to the business climate due to the pandemic. The Ashland Economic Development team partnered with Natick and Framingham to create a Marketing Grant for small businesses.
Through the grant, businesses were paired with a marketing team that helped to build or rejuvenate a website, take professional photos, build out SEOs, create social media campaigns and more. The goal was to help increase visibility for these businesses in turn increasing their sales and profit.
In total 37 businesses were assisted and the $250,000 grant was quickly distributed.
Below are examples of the work that was completed.
The Framingham Marketing Group
Here are a few examples of the work The Framingham Marketing Group completed:
Paper Fiesta got a marketing boost from Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) training and implementation. Their online store was already up and running but needed a little help getting the word out. We worked with the client to form a social media marketing strategy followed by a competitive SEO analysis that informed our implementation of crucial keywords site-wide. Our training helped the client understand how to leverage the work they are already doing better in the future.
The Kinder Group
The Kinder Group is a security company that received a brand new, search engine optimized website and online marketing advice to help take their brand to the next level. Their new blog and improved marketing message are already producing results in the form of valuable new sales leads. Their new site also includes an online store where they sell commercial-grade first aid supplies. We also designed print assets that they can leave behind with clients to finish off their new, professional marketing strategy.
Pauline’s Catering & Staffing
Pauline’s Catering & Staffing not only received a new website with improved graphics, search engine optimization, and an easy-to-update new menu system but also received a brand make-over from Levine Design. With these new marketing assets in place, DelPrete Consulting worked with them to improve their social media presence and outreach.
Sara Sniderman Photography
Sara is a talented photographer whose work speaks for itself. Her new website leverages her photography to captivate the viewer and produce more leads. Sara received a new website, a new brand, and valuable social media marketing advice on an outreach program that will help her take her business to the next level.
Denise Girardin Art
Denise is a local artist whose colorful and playful artwork brightens up any space. Denise also works on large-scale community projects each year. We worked with Denise to leverage how she shares these projects on both social media and her website. At the same time, we rebuilt her site to achieve these goals better and added an online store where she could sell her work directly to clients. In addition, she received a new brand that represented her artwork and energy that is in use on her new site and her email marketing templates.
inKind Design Collective is a group of professionals that have a holistic approach to marketing. The team created new websites for multiple businesses through this grant.
Here are a few examples of the work inKind Design completed:
Tomo360 is a full-service Marketing Agency specializing in Digital Marketing such as Social Media Management, Website Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid-ads, Branding, and Content Creation. We have a dynamic team of talented business and marketing experts with experience in nonprofits, higher education, retail, healthcare, biotechnology, and high-tech companies.
Here are a few examples of the work TOMO 360 completed:
DRF Engineering Services
We have redesigned DRF Engineering's logo and website and rewrote the content of their new website. After we had designed the new logo, we created a new website and rewrote/proofread the content for DRF Engineering. The design is based on the branding of the new logo. We’ve created new service pages with new photos, which will help with increasing search engine ranking. We also researched industry keywords and optimized the website to help improve on its search engine ranking.
Astral Weeks Yoga LLC dba Mystic fitness
We have updated their website by making the navigation and features such as call-to-action on registration and scheduling to be more user-friendly.
We have redesigned Tommy’s Taxi’s website to reflect its 75-year history by refreshing the look and feel of its original branding. We have managed their social media presence with various posts that created more engagement and gained more followers. We also did 3 months of SEO to help improve their website ranking.
Auto Bright Car Care
We managed their social media accounts and ran both social media and Facebook ads to promote promotions and products that reflected the strength of their brand. We generated content clicks from 300 fans, 34-page engagements, 14 post clicks, and 850-page impressions for the first month. We ran 2 Ads and monthly monitoring for each month with over 100,000 impressions and over 750 website clicks.
Loving Nest Preschool
We managed their social media accounts and created two Social Media Ads from August to September. We’ve reached over 12,000 people and over 150 website clicks.
Knots of Fun
We updated the website to improve usability. We also created social media posts and ads. We generated a 160% increase in engagement on her Facebook page and 245 new Instagram followers.
At Shields Design, creativity matters. We recognize that in order for creative to succeed, it has to be purposeful, great looking and distinct. It has to address your objectives, stand out and connect with your audience. Whether you are building a brand from scratch or need help bringing an existing brand to life, we take a collaborative approach. The team at Shields Design Studio has provides visual communications and marketing programs to a broad spectrum of industries for both the public and private sectors. These services include brand and identity development, design and execution of all print collateral materials, signage, exhibits and displays, interactive services, web design and development.
Here are a few examples of the work Shields Design Studio completed:
FlexPlus Physical Therapy LLC d/b/a FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of MetroWest
Allegro Music School
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