Business Breakfast Looks to Connect Small Businesses to Resources

In an effort to continue the momentum of helping small businesses in the South End compete and remain in the neighborhood, the Washington Gateway Main Street (WGMS) will host an innovative South End/Lower Roxbury Business Breakfast on Monday, April 24, at 8:30 a.m. in Gaslight Brasserie du Coin.
“One thing we know is that a lot of small businesses in the neighborhood need our help,” said Randi Lathrop, a long-time board member at WGMS.
The business workshop is being held in the morning to make it more accessible for owners to attend, and it will connect City officials from the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC), and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development to the local business community.
The idea is create an arena where business owners can learn about financing options, about grant opportunities and to simply network with other business owners.
Lathrop said one of the opportunities will be to speak with Karleen Porcena of LISC, which has a great and lucrative grant program for women-owned and minority-owned businesses.
“The cool thing is if you’re a woman-owned or minority-owned business, and we have a lot of women-owned businesses in the South End, you can get this $10,000 crowd funding grant with very little work…The grant can be used for just about anything, including a new awning, a website or other improvements. Obviously, $10,000 can really help a small business.”
Bill Nickerson from the BPDA will be at the breakfast to talk about loans and development, and Steve Rumpler from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development will discuss the storefront program – where the City will match up to $25,000 in private investment to improve a storefront.
Other discussions will be about marketing, and also navigating City permitting and zoning issues.
Lathrop said it shouldn’t be overlooked that it will be a time for business owners to talk with one another and bounce ideas off one another.
“This is a great networking opportunity,” she said. “Businesses are so busy. That’s why we do a breakfast because many people have restaurants need to be there most of the rest of the day.”
Speakers include Jenny Effron, Washington Gateway Main Street; Bill Nickerson of the BPDA; Karleen Porcena, Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC); and Steve Rumpler of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
RSVP by April 21 to Washington Gateway at [email protected].

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