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Posted on: March 18, 2020

City of Fitchburg Releases Small Business Grant Program

City of Fitchburg Releases Small Business Grant Program, Works to Connect Businesses Critical Resources

City of Fitchburg Releases Small Business Grant Program, Works to Connect Businesses Critical Resources The City of Fitchburg is committed to supporting our small business community through this difficult time. Though City Hall has closed to the public, our services remain open, and the City of Fitchburg is working diligently to support our small business community by improving online access to permitting documents, providing flexible resources to the small businesses, and supporting Fitchburg businesses with employee purchasing power. 

Making Flexible Resources Available to the Business Community

Most importantly, the City will provide flexibility through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to meet the emergency needs of the business community:

Releasing a City of Fitchburg Emergency Small Business Grant 

Through the CDBG program, the City of Fitchburg has made $100k available for a grant program providing up to $2,500 each for small businesses in the City of Fitchburg. Preference will be given to businesses who have existing loans with the Community Development Small Business Loan Program, businesses with 5 or fewer employees, and restaurant, bars, retail, and entertainment businesses. Businesses must demonstrate business loss as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, contact Housing and Development Director Liz Murphy at lmurphy@fitchburgma.gov

The City is looking to expand the capacity of this program in the near future. If you are a community partner that is interested in participating, please contact Tom Skwierawski, Executive Director of Planning and Community Development, at tskwierawski@fitchburgma.gov

Modifying Existing City Small Business Loans

 The City will work with the small business community to make modifications to our existing loan fund to expand our impact further. We will be providing a 3 month loan deferral, and will be considering other term adjustments as the situation develops.

Connecting Businesses to Other Resources 

City officials will also work to connect businesses with the local and state resources that are available to support the business community during this difficult time. These resources include: 

North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Emergency Loan Fund

The North Central Chamber of Commerce/Development Corporation is launching an Emergency Loan program to provide quick approval with loans of up to $20,000 to help small businesses. Loans will be awarded to qualifying local businesses that need access to capital and want to avoid high-interest credit cards or expensive and unregulated online lenders. If approved, the business is also eligible to receive business assistance from the NCMDC staff and consultants. To qualify, you must be an existing small business and be able to provide two years of tax returns, as well as demonstrate a direct financial impact of Coronavirus on your business. For more information, contact Sandie Cataldo at scataldo@northcentralmass.com or Brendan Hannen at bhannen@northcentralmass.com

Massachusetts Growth Capital Emergency Loan Fund

This resource provides emergency loans of up to $75,000 are available through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. Terms and conditions are available here.

Improving Access to Online Permitting

Materials Additionally, businesses and residents can visit the City’s “one-stop shop” webpage for all their e-permitting needs. When possible, visitors are encouraged to utilize our View Permit e-permitting software, but this site also includes applications for download, and information on the resources highlighted above. You can find this under the "Business” tab located at the top of our home page, under the “E-Permitting and Emergency Resources” button. 

Buying Campaigns to Show Fitchburg Pride

Lastly, given that City employees represent one of the largest workforce within the City, City officials have sent a request that municipal employees utilize their purchasing power to help support the small business community:

“Buy Fitchburg, Buy Local” Campaign

I have requested that every City employee do their part to support local businesses at every possible opportunity, such as takeout, or the purchase of gift cards. The City of Fitchburg challenges leaders in the private sector to follow suit, and encourages residents of the City to think about ways they can support their local business community, while also continuing to exercise Public Health protocols of social distancing.

Following the Chamber’s direction please frequent takeout food locations locally, to show your support during this difficult time. The following page includes a list of takeout food operations throughout the City, some of which were not covered by the Takeout Blitz. This list is also available on http://www.fitchburgma.gov/876/Takeout-Blitz

Keeping Open Lines of Communication with the our Small Business Community

“We understand that this is not only a public health crisis, but an economic one,” said Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale. “My administration will continue to support our small business community, in whatever way possible, during this trying time. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and if we work together as a community, we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.”

Information regarding both e-permitting and the emergency resources noted above are available at www.fitchburgma.gov and on the City’s Facebook page. It will be updated with new resources as they become available. City officials will be contacting the business community throughout the week to ensure they are aware of the resources available, and the services offered on our website.

For more information on the online permitting process, and resources available for the small business community, please contact Tom Skwierawski, Executive Director of Planning and Community Development, at 978-829- 1892.

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