Assistance

0The Pioneer Valley is rich in resources to help you plan, develop, and market your business locally and globally. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development can help you target the resources most appropriate to your business.

Western Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
The Western Massachusetts Regional SBDC, a counseling center of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, provides free and confidential one-to-one counseling to prospective and existing small businesses in western Massachusetts. Areas of assistance include business plan development, preventure feasibility, conventional and non-conventional financing, cash flow analysis, organizational and personnel issues and marketing. The SBDC also offers low-cost seminars, workshops, courses and conferences addressing a wide range of concerns for both start-up and existing businesses.
  • Scibelli Enterprise Center
    One Federal Street, Building 101R
    Springfield, MA 01105-1160
  • Ph: 413-737-6712
  • Fx: 413-737-2312
The SBDC has an outreach site at the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce at 99 Pleasant Street in Northampton. Appointments in the chamber offices are available on Wednesdays each week. Call the chamber to make an appointment 413-584-1900.

Valley Community Development Corporation
The City of Northampton contracts with the Valley CDC Small Business Development Program to provide small business counseling to low and moderate income individuals including business plan development, cash flow analysis, and marketing as well as access to community loan funds.
  • Valley Community Development Corporation
    30 Market St.
    Northampton, MA 01060
  • Ph: 413-586-5855, ext. 14
  • Gene Talsky, Director Small Business Development
Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council
The Ask the EDC and Homefield Advantage Program at the Economic Development Council provides real estate, financial access, regional data, marketing, workforce development, and peer networking support to businesses in the region.

Family Business Center
The UMass Family Business Center assists family-owned companies to recognize common problems and find solutions to their unique challenges. Services include dinner speaker forums, roundtable discussion groups, business networking, and an educational newsletter.
  • UMass Family Business Center
    Division of Continuing Education
    358 North Pleasant St.
  • Amherst, MA 01003-1650
  • Ph: 413-545-1537
  • Fx: 413-545-3351
Non-Profit Finance Fund
The New England Office of Non-profit Finance Fund (NFF) provides advisory and financial services to nonprofits of all types in Massachusetts. Services include nonprofit business analysis, planning for managing assets, workshops and planning guides on facility and financial planning. NFF also offers facilities loans.
  • Non-profit Finance Fund
    89 South St.
    Suite 101
    Boston, MA 02111
  • Ph: 617-204-9772
  • Fx: 617-204-9773
  • Email
MA Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship
The Massachusetts Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship works with the Commonwealth's many service providers to provide technical assistance and financing. The website offers information on starting a business, taxes, financing, etc.
Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (OSBE)
  • 1 Ashburton Place, Room 2101
    Boston, MA 021008
  • Ph: 617-788-3610
  • Andre Porter, Executive Director
  • Nadine Boakye, Assistant Program Manager
Massachusetts Export Center
The Massachusetts Export Center offers a range of targeted, customized services to Massachusetts businesses at any stage in the export process. Services include export counseling and technical assistance, international market research and assessment, international business development assistance, export training programs, export publications. A new Export Growth Initiative, is a program designed for new and existing exporters seeking to expand their international market base. The Initiative focuses on four export-oriented industry clusters such as life sciences, software, renewable energy, and specialty foods and seafood. The Export Growth Initiative is designed to help companies at any stage of the export process and is offered at no charge to qualifying participants.
  • Ann Pieroway, Western Massachusetts Program Director
  • Massachusetts Export Center
    Donahue Building, Room 163
    303 Homestead Ave.
    Holyoke, MA 01040
  • Ph: 413-552-2316
  • Fx: 413-552-2479
Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment
The Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment (MOITI) works to expand the Massachusetts economy by marketing the state’s business internationally, through focused export promotion, attracting foreign companies to invest in Massachusetts and handling protocol as it relates to trade and investment.
  • Boston Fish Pier
    212 Northern Avenue
    East Building I, Suite 300
    Boston, MA 02210
  • Ph: 617-830-5400
New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center
NETAAC provides grants (from the U.S. Department of Commerce) to companies experiencing import competition. NETAAC helps companies become certified as eligible (100% success rate). NETAAC prepares an in-depth diagnostic analysis and an adjustment plan. Approved companies are then eligible to receive a mini-grant ($30,000) or a full grant ($100,000) to hire private consultants to provide customized assistance with a wide range of business adjustment needs. Manufacturers (including software companies that create a product) are potentially eligible.

Small Business Administration

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) offers business assistance such as counseling, training, and financing for small and medium sized businesses. The Western MA regional office can be reached at:
  • Springfield Branch Office
    STCC Technology Park
    One Federal Street, Building 101-R
    Springfield, MA 01105
  • Ph: 413-785-0484
The Massachusetts SBA office has set up a special Economic Recovery Hotline to assist businesses in distress. Call them at 617-565-5627 (JOBS).

Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE)
The Western Mass chapter of Service Corp of Retired Executives offers free business counseling for businesses in Western Massachusetts from retired business executives and former business owners who volunteer their time to counsel prospective entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • SCORE Western Mass
    One Federal Square
    Springfield, MA 01103
  • Ph: 413-785-0314
Springfield Area Council for Excellence
Springfield Area Council for Excellence (SPACE) offers Pioneer Valley organizations a variety of continuous improvement learning events, workshops, and on-site training on actual business projects.
  • 1441 Main St.
    Springfield, MA 01103
  • Ph: 413-755-1300
Law & Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship
The Western New England College Law and Business Center offers a free small business legal assistance clinic and individual consulting and a speakers series on topics related to law and entrepreneurship.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program

The Farm Viability Enhancement Program is designed to assist farmers in improving the economic bottom line and environmental integrity of their operations through the development and implementation of business plans tailored to their situations.

The program has three phases:
  • In Phase I, a farmer will work with a planning team to develop a plan to increase on- farm income and preserve the farm’s environmental resources.
  • In Phase II, awards of $20,000 up to $60,000 may be available to a farmer to implement his or her plan in exchange for completing selected elements of the plan and agreeing to restrict the use of the farm to agricultural uses only by signing a five or ten year Agricultural Covenant.
  • Phase III is a reporting phase after completion of the changes recommended in the plan.
Contact Information
  • Craig Richov, Coordinator
  • Farm Viability Enhancement Program
    Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources
    251 Causeway Street, Suite 500
    Boston, MA 02114
  • Ph: 617-626-1725
Center for Women & Enterprise
The Center for Women and Enterprise is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women start and grow their own businesses with offices in Boston and Worcester, MA. Offers business development trainings, one-on-one consulting, and loan packaging.
  • Central Massachusetts Center for Women and Enterprise
    50 Elm Street, Second Floor
    Worcester, MA 01609
  • Ph: 508-363-2323
  • Email
Cooperative Development Institute
The Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) is the Northeast's nonprofit center for cooperative business education, training and technical assistance. CDI's mission is to increase economic opportunities and benefits for people in the Northeast by fostering the growth and success of all types of cooperative enterprises.

CDI is committed to building sustainable rural and urban communities where people work together to meet their needs, have access to quality jobs, affordable products and services, and share ownership of essential resources. The organization provides education, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up cooperatively-structured enterprises in all business sectors: food, housing, energy, agriculture, arts, health, forestry, fisheries, retail, service and more.

International Franchise Association

The International Franchise Association, founded in 1960, is a membership organization of franchises, franchisees and suppliers. IFA is dedicated to providing a one-stop shopping experience for franchise information.

National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance
The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) fosters invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in higher education as a way of creating innovative, commercially viable, and socially beneficial businesses and employment opportunities in the United States. The NCIIA works with colleges and collegiate innovators and entrepreneurs offering business planning, grants, and educational programming.

UMass Entrepreneurship Initiative
UMEI offers entrepreneurial training and assistance to under-graduate and graduate innovators and entrepreneurs including competitions and grants.

Valley Venture Mentors
Valley Venture Mentors is a mentorship accelerator program that brings a handful of carefully selected companies in close contact with dozens of mentors through structured monthly events. Companies receive a fire-hose of advice over the course of six months. Mentors get an exciting, engaging monthly event where they can meet fellow veteran business executives and young ventures worthy of assistance. Mentors and entrepreneurs also gain something else: a venue where they can quickly and efficiently “speed date” to find the right mentor / entrepreneur match.

Select USA
President Obama has created Select USA to provide information about business investment in the United States. This website provides information about business and educational achievement levels in the USA, financial incentives, and industry clusters.

Startup America Partnership

The Startup America Partnership is a private organization working to help young companies succeed by bringing together some of the country’s most successful organizations to provide valuable resources to young companies with high growth potential.

Partnership resources and assistance include talent, services, expertise, customers and capital. The partnership has created regional networks to identify and help accelerate entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country.