Technical assistance

Mayor Mitchell announces new grant opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs

Mayor Jon Mitchell today announced $3.3 million in funding is being made available to support local businesses and entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, the city launched a small business relief program to distribute some of the federal funding New Bedford received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). On May 13, Mayor Mitchell and local arts leaders celebrated funding for local artists and arts groups through the Small Business Program.

This same program is now allocating another portion of its funds to help local businesses and entrepreneurs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate their financial recovery. Funding will be distributed through two separate initiatives: NBForward!, which will provide funding to businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic, and NB100!, which will focus on helping start-up entrepreneurs impacted because of their industry or their location.

The New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) will be responsible for administering the respective grant processes as they expand their longstanding small business support activities.

NBEDC’s two award-winning programs will focus on local small businesses and start-ups through new, streamlined processes designed to be easy to access, flexible, efficient and measurable in results, with the goal of positioning New Bedford as the one of the strongest and most diverse small business economies per capita in the post-pandemic Commonwealth.

“Entrepreneurs drive opportunity and growth in our economy. Positioning them for success will accelerate New Bedford’s exit from the pandemic,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “The New Bedford Economic Development Council has a proven track record of supporting small businesses, and these two new programs will leverage their experience and expertise.

“Connectivity is key to helping small businesses succeed throughout the business lifecycle,” said Anthony Sapienza, president of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. “From start to finish, the two NB100s! and NBForward! are designed to provide not only New Bedford businesses with much-needed financial support to emerge from the pandemic, but also the technical know-how needed to remain viable and vibrant for years to come. No matter where someone is in their entrepreneurial journey, whether they are a beginner or an established business, at New Bedford we have a pathway available to them.

The new NBForward! The program will offer at least 100 grants of up to $20,000 – in conjunction with matching loan funding from other non-ARPA sources and with three-month deferred payments – as well as technical assistance including planning tips, resources and best practices.

NBForward! is designed to provide existing local businesses with working capital to position themselves for future growth. Eligible uses of capital include:

  • Commercial lease improvements, construction, renovations (with documented building owner approval and City permit verification)
  • Commercial lease or mortgage payments
  • Corporate utility payments
  • Monthly insurance costs for businesses
  • company payroll
  • Business inventory expenses
  • Other Approved Fixed and Operating Expenses

The new NB100! aims to promote entrepreneurship, increase local wealth and strengthen community ties by helping 100 new businesses get started. As part of the first phase of support, NBEDC will lead technical assistance provided by New Bedford SourceLink resource partners including: EforAll, Groundwork, Co-Creative Center, New Bedford Ocean Cluster, UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College and Junior Achievement.

In a separate and subsequent phase, the NBEDC will provide grants of $10,000 to qualifying small businesses that have successfully completed the technical support program. Eligible uses of these grant funds will include:

  • Commercial lease or mortgage payments
  • Corporate utility payments
  • Monthly insurance costs for businesses
  • company payroll
  • Business inventory expenses
  • Acquisition of new equipment/properties
  • Construction/repair of existing assets
  • Reimburse professional expenses incurred as of March 3, 2021
  • Working capital for other operating expenses

CNBDE staff will be engaged in the management of both programs to ensure an efficient review and approval process for eligible applicants. The official application process will be accessible via the CNBBE homepage at: https://nbedc.org.

Learn more at the city’s ARPA website: www.newbedford-ma.gov/arpa.