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MGCC News

March 07 2017

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Mass Growth Capital Launches New Effort to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Partners with English for New Bostonians for Research and Technical Assistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 7, 2017
Contact: Alison Moronta, amoronta@massgcc.com, 617-337-2820

(Boston, MA) Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) officially launched a new effort to support immigrant entrepreneurs today by unveiling a partnership with English for New Bostonians.  At a meeting of its board of directors, MGCC President Larry Andrews said, “We are pleased to collaborate with English for New Bostonians (ENB) and their statewide English Works Campaign to help immigrant business owners gain greater access to capital, greater mastery of English, and technical assistance to navigate government regulations and local business environments.”

Claudia Green, Executive Director of ENB, added, “Our recent study found that if we could level the playing field for immigrant businesses through some of these efforts, they would be able to access new customers, and strengthen their bottom lines, thus generating more economic growth on main streets across the Commonwealth.”

Across the country, 28% of Main Street business owners are foreign born.  This trend is mirrored regionally: In Worcester, 37% of Main Street business owners are foreign-born, and in metro Boston, 29%.  However, although immigrants make up a large percentage of business owners on Main Street, their businesses tend to be less profitable than businesses owned by native born residents.  According to research done by Next Street and Mass Economics, limited English language skills, financial literacy, and lack of awareness of available business services has hurt profitability and job growth for many immigrant businesses.

English for New Bostonians developed and ran a pilot program in 2015-2016 with four cohorts of immigrant business owners in Jamaica Plain, Chelsea, East Boston and Dorchester. The businesses included storefronts, services and home based childcare establishments.  Using a customized curriculum developed by ENB, the groups studied English relevant to contextualized for business and customer service, received training on financial management and marketing, and received one-on-one coaching for their individual businesses.  The results were striking:  business owners made gains in their English skills, were able to increase marketing, sales and service to English speaking customers, access new resources including financing, and separate their personal finances from business funds.  An evaluation of the pilot, commissioned by MGCC and carried out by ENB consultant Mary Coonan, made recommendations on how to replicate this effort using best practices learned from the pilot program.

MGCC and ENB have joined forces and are reaching out to other statewide and national partners to expand resources and share the learnings from this exciting initiative.  For further information, please contact Alison Moronta at 617-337-2820 or amoronta@massgcc.com.


Background

MGCC works to create and preserve jobs at Massachusetts small businesses, women and minority owned businesses, and promotes economic development in underserved, Gateway Cities and low and moderate income communities.  MGCC is a central state resource that offers working capital, loan guarantees, and targeted technical assistance to solve specific financial and operational problems for local businesses.   MGCC works with traditional financial institutions to make challenging loans bankable, working with community development corporations and other non-profits to provide financing for job-producing projects, and assisting a wide range of small businesses find the growth capital they require. MGCC specifically targets manufacturers that are expanding, other growth sectors, and small businesses in our older Gateway Cities.  Since inception, MGCC has assisted more than 317 companies with over 11,190 employees with customized working capital financing commitments totaling over $104,197,563.  Visit our website at http://www.massgcc.com and follow us on Twitter @massgcc.

English for New Bostonians’ (ENB) mission is to increase access to high-quality English language learning opportunities for adult immigrants. With the support of the City of Boston, foundations, corporations, non-profits, and community organizations, ENB provides program support, training, and technical assistance to organizations providing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) citywide, and has piloted and brought to scale special initiatives including ESOL for Parents and Caregivers and ESOL for Entrepreneurs. ENB’s flagship statewide English Works Campaign unites community, business, labor and civic leaders around the goal of creating a high-quality ESOL system and has resulted in greater attention to immigrant labor force needs, policy changes, and new workplace ESOL partnerships across the state.

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