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Disaster Relief Grant Will Be Used to Aid Businesses

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires and Franklin County are teaming up on a grant to help small businesses in the two regions.

The project will be launched on Friday, July 19, with an event at 11 a.m. at MediTerra on Main Street.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a Disaster Relief Opportunity grant to the Franklin County Community Development Corp. with project partners Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The goals are to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that are investing in their businesses and creating jobs.

Officials also see the project as a way to build economic collaboration between Northern Berkshire and Franklin County.

"Small businesses are the heart and soul of our community and this collaboration will bring together a wide variety of services and providers that will be available to our business owners," said Mayor Richard Alcombright in a statement. "Additionally, the ability to provide business planning and modeling along with access to capital and funding sources is a significant win for our businesses."

The mayor said he sees it as a team effort to ensure growth for North County.

The grant provides resources to support direct business technical assistance including individual counseling, trainings, financing, connections to available resources and industry experts for existing businesses and entrepreneurs with business startup ideas. The 18-month grant also provides resources to facilitate capacity building with collaborators in Northern Berkshire for enhancing sustainable business development.

Friday's event will include local and state officials, and Dan Johnson from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office.

"This project will serve and support local businesses that have been struggling to recover from natural disasters and the recession but are looking for an opportunity to create new jobs," said state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, who represents towns in both counties.

Collaborating organizations:

Northern Berkshire: Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Enterprises/Berkshire Community College, city of North Adams, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, North Adams Chamber of Commerce, town of Adams, and Williamstown Chamber of Commerce.

Franklin County: Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, Greenfield Community College and Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network

For more information: Amy Shapiro at 413-774-7204, Ext. 107, or amys@fccdc.org.

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