Programs & Events

Programs and Events to keep you connected, informed and inspired.

We offer a robust schedule of unique and thoughtful programming and events that reflects the most relevant issues facing the Greater Boston businesses community. With more than 100 programs and networking events in Boston each year, our gatherings allow you and your colleagues to:

  • Collaborate and share points of view
  • Stay informed and hear from prominent regional business leaders
  • Make important connections for your organization and professional development

Small Business Resources

Boston Small Businesses. Huge Impact.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Greater Boston economy. In fact, the city of Boston alone is home to more than 40,000 small businesses that generate more than $15 billion in annual revenue and employ 170,000 people. And at the Chamber, more than 50% of our members are small businesses. 

We don't take these statistics lightly. We're here for small businesses through our public policy initiatives, through programs and events designed to connect small businesses in Boston to their peers and established business leaders, to our educational and professional development offerings for small business owners and their employees. We're working to advocate for and help small businesses connect and grow.

Boston Small Business Financial Relief Fund

The City of Boston established the Small Business Financial Relief Fund to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grant amounts will range from $2,500 to $10,000. Eligible small businesses include for-profit entities with:

  • Fewer than 35 employees
  • Less than $1.5 million in annual revenue
  • Registered with, in good standing with, and operating in, the City of Boston (excluding chain or corporate franchises)

The City will begin accepting applications on Monday, April 6th. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; however, due to high expected demand, the number of grants will be limited. The City recommends applying as soon as possible.

Contact the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development with any questions:

For additional funding assistance and programs, view the City’s Financial Relief Handbook

COVID-19 Small Business Resources – Applying for Federal Assistance 

Small businesses are navigating how, where, and when to seek assistance. This section covers resources to answer those questions. 

As of April 1, there are two main sources of federal aid for small businesses: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Generally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) considers a small business one with up to 500 employees but for some industries its as many as 1,500 employees. Use this tool to find out if you qualify as a small business.   


Before you Apply for Federal Assistance – Eligibility, Amounts, Documents, and Local Help 

The Committee on Small Business has a chart summarizing eligibility, amounts, and how to apply to the two programs. 

The U.S. Chamber offers an excellentguide and checklist on the PPP that provides clear information on eligibility, required documents, and loan structures In the EIDL programThe U.S. Chamber also has a guide on EIDL program

For a complete overview of the SBA’s support for small businesses, view their guidance and loan resources 

Local organizations can provide additional assistance. Use this search tool to find one in your neighborhood.  


When you are Ready to Apply for Federal Assistance

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The program is available through June 30, 2020 and incentivizes small businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The loan will be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and loans are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  

The U.S. Treasury has summary information on the PPP, including the latest version of the application, in the tools section of this page. The US Treasury is also updating an ongoing list of FAQs available through the same link. The U.S. Chamber prepared a guide and checklist for small businesses applying to the PPP. 

Timing for applications depends on the type of business: small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply through existing SBA lenders starting Friday, April 3, 2020. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. 

Applications are made through banks directly and the U.S. Treasury posted an application form on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The SBA published the most active SBA 7(a) lenders in December 2019. Additionally, the SBA has a search function to find eligible PPP lenders

Using SBA data, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development published this list of institutions that provided loans to Massachusetts companies in the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The list also includes all entities that appeared on the SBA’s approved lenders list, which was last updated on April 13, 2020. Lenders on this list are categorized by asset level, so businesses can easily identify which institutions will be eligible for the $60 billion carveout.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Apply to the EIDL program through this link. Applications are due on or before December 18, 2020 and can be submitted online or on paper.  

The U.S. Chamber prepared a guide to the SBA's EIDL program


Small Businesses - Beware of Fraud! 

The SBA is warning businesses to be on alert for lending frauds and scams. Review their guidance. 

 

Get Help 

  • Google has resources to help your small business manage through uncertainty. 
  • Bowditch stands ready to fully support businesses in a collective effort to confront and overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Their most recent post is a checklist for small businesses who are ordered to shut down or are minimizing operations.   

COVID Relief Coalition – Relief and Legal Assistance Resources

The Chamber joined the COVID Relief Coalition, a partnership of law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies in Massachusetts seeking to help small businesses and nonprofits in the greater Boston area access emergency loans and other sources of relief, including pro bono assistance. Click here to apply for pro bono legal assistance.

LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program for Massachusetts 

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Boston today launched the LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program for Massachusetts, which will provide grants to hard-hit small businesses to weather the immediate financial impact of closures and social distancing measures required to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

LISC will offer grants of up to $10,000 to address immediate financial peril, limit layoffs, avoid gaps in employee benefits or insurance, mitigate economic instability, and increase the likelihood of business survival. Launched with seed funding provided by Citizens Bank, the Small Business Recovery Grant Program is part of the LISC Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund for Massachusetts. In addition to grants, the Fund also aims to provide much-needed technical assistance and longer-term funding to help vulnerable businesses and community-serving nonprofits weather the effects of the pandemic. 

U.S. Chamber Foundation's Save Small Business Fund

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched the Save Small Business Fund to provide assistance to small business owners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chamber Foundation will distribute $5,000 grants to small employers in the U.S.

Grant applications will open on April 20, 2020. Visit the Chamber Foundation for information on eligibility, grant timeline, and more.


Workforce Training Fund Resources

Summary of Available Grants is a helpful tool to view the several workforce training fund programs that are available. Use the summary to see which best suits the needs of your business. 

FY19 Annual Report In Fiscal Year 2019, the Workforce Training Fund Program continued its record of exceptional job growth rates. More than $20 million in training grants were awarded in all 16 Workforce Development Board regions to train more than 15,200 workers by 2021. Employers that completed training initiatives this past fiscal year added jobs at eight times the state rate and four times the national rate.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusettes Relief Effort

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and its Foundation have committed over $4.92 million in financial support to COVID-19 relief efforts, along with a pledge of pro bono and in-kind support surpassing $4.83 million in value for a total community investment of $9.75 million.

For more information, please visit their resource page here.

Advertising Support During COVID-19 Pandemic

Soofa makes digital outdoor Signs that serve as the neighborhood news feed across communities in and around Boston. Anyone in the neighborhood can post to Soofa Signs for free, and local businesses can sign up to advertise on the Signs! Because of all the hardship and uncertainty we know this public health crisis is causing local businesses, we are offering free accounts right now for local businesses to advertise gift cards, delivery services, or other promotions. 

You can sign up for a free account here! Learn more about how we are supporting businesses during this time here.

Commercial Lease Advice for Small Business

The Community Business Clinic at Northeastern University School of Law has prepared a summary of tips on how to negotiate lease modifications with landlords in English and Spanish.

https://www.northeastern.edu/law/pdfs/experience/cbc/leases.pdf    

https://www.northeastern.edu/law/pdfs/experience/cbc/leases-esp.pdf  


Webinars

Take full advantage of your Chamber membership from the convenience of your desk with our 30-minute webinars. Through our webinar series, you'll hear from other members, meet the Chamber team, and learn more about all the Chamber has to offer you and your organization. Participants are invited to join the dialogue, and will be challenged to learn new skills and grow their networks with fellow mentors.

Small Business Advisory Board

Chair

Jeff Freedman, Founder & CEO, Small Army

Jeff Freedman is the founder and CEO of Small Army, one of the top advertising agencies in Boston. He is also the founder and CEO of Small Army for a Cause, the nonprofit organization behind the national Be Bold, Be Bald! cancer fundraiser that he founded after losing his business partner to cancer. And, he is the author of The Moral of the Story: A Storyteller's Guide to Helping Brands Build Relationships With People. Jeff is a regular speaker, panelist, and blogger, sharing his experiences with brand storytelling and relationship-building, business leadership and corporate social responsibility.

Advisory Board Members

  • Hilary Allard, The Castle Group
  • Kevin Bynoe, UHM Properties, LLC
  • Richard Champagne, Champagne Law Group
  • Carole Copeland Thomas, C. Thomas & Associates
  • Anna Foster, A Maven's World Brand
  • Donna Gittens, MORE Advertising
  • Bethany Grazio Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, P.C.
  • Tommy Kelly, Spaceworks Architectural Interiors, LLC
  • Pamela McDermott, McDermott Ventures, LLC
  • Jerry Rubin, Jewish Vocational Service, Inc.
  • Michael Tamasi, AccuRounds
  • Joe Varraso, The Provident Bank
  • Heather White, TRILLFIT, Inc
  • Lyndsay Whitehurst, Interise
  • Kelley Yelle, Entertainment Cruises

Small Business Insurance Resources


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Working to empower Boston small businesses to access affordable health insurance for employees, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce partners with the Health Connector for Business that delivers cost-saving opportunities to employers and health care insurance choice to employees.

Through the partnership, GBCC small-business members (employers with less than 50 employees) will be able to create and manage accounts online and have direct access to support through customer service. In addition, health insurance brokers who are GBCC members will be connected to those small-business members to maximize the benefits of the platform.

Members can go to this Massachusetts Health Connector link for GBCC and directly access the platform to sign up for coverage. For members calling customer service, they will be provided a direct route to support from a representative.

Small Business Training Resources


workforce-training-fund-logo.jpg#asset:5787Providing Massachusetts businesses with the resources needed to invest in workforce development, improve employee skills, and maintain the economic strength and viability of the Commonwealth’s businesses.  

Summary of Available Grants is a helpful tool to view the several workforce training fund programs that are available. Use the summary to see which best suits the needs of your business. 

FY18 Impact Highlights shows the success achieved for employers that completed Workforce Training Fund Program grants in 2018.  More than 15,000 on-the-job workers were trained and these businesses grew jobs at more than three times the average state and national job growth rate. 

Visit the WorkForce Training Fund website to learn more and apply. 

 

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The WindWalker Group consults with customers to design and develop custom, effective training solutions. They specialize in the creation of experiences that ensure a learner retains information and recalls it when they need it. 

They apply a systems-design process to integrate emerging learning theory with state-of-the-art technology and graphic arts. They create engaging systems and materials that effectively address their clients’ unique learning, performance, and communications needs. Training and communications products have earned numerous national and international awards for innovation and quality.

If interested, contact the WindWalker Group today for more information.

US Chamber of Commerce Resources

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Member 2019

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is continuously looking for ways to provide our members with additional services and resources. We have a special partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that welcomes you, through your existing membership with our local chamber, as a new member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at no additional cost.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation and 96% of their members are small businesses. Through your membership with the U.S. Chamber, you will have access to the many valuable benefits designed specifically for small businesses, including the toolkits available on Small Business Nation, news and advocacy updates, and other products, services, and publications.

To learn more about your complimentary membership to the U.S. Chamber, please contact contact Luz Arregoces, Director of Programs