Great News: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources for Businesses and Employees
Brought to you by MassHire BizWorks
MassHire BizWorks was formed out of a need to unify resources for businesses statewide in one clear and concise place over a decade ago. Despite genuine efforts to reach each and every business over the years, it became very clear, particularly during the pandemic, that many minority business groups are not aware of the government resources and programs available to them for little or no cost.
The MassHire BizWorks team has prioritized the need to reach these businesses throughout the state and initiated the minority business outreach and connection program in 2020. The idea is to ensure all minority businesses are connected to the many valuable resources that can help them grow and thrive.
As a result, MassHire BizWorks is working with Latino-owned businesses by connecting and presenting to several of the Latino business associations, including El Mundo Boston and LABO (Latin American Business Organization). We attended and presented at the El Mundo Boston Latino Expo and the Latin American Business Expo in Worcester. Additionally, the team has been featured on several of El Mundo’s radio broadcasts for businesses.
We are also working with three of the Black-owned businesses associations in Massachusetts. We have built relationships and joined them for several events that are designed to assist with building their business memberships. As part of this initiative, we attended the Massachusetts Black Expo (MBE) that was held in September along with the Berkshire Black Economic Council’s 2nd Annual Speed Networking Event—both creating some wonderful new connections.
Continuing our work with various minority groups, MassHire BizWorks is also working closely with the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce to provide its businesses with the support they need through available resources, including a statewide virtual presentation and attending their Power Grid 2022 Conference in December.
Additionally, the MassHire BizWorks team has reached out to woman-owned business associations, such at the Center for Women and Enterprise, as well as the Chinese Progressive Association as a way to connect with their businesses. We look forward to working with them further.
The main thing that we have been concentrating on is ensuring that all businesses know about the MassHire BizWorks programs that are being offered in the most inclusive and least confusing manner. With regular updates to our MassHire BizWorks Resource Guide to include new services, we are ensuring that businesses are aware of the most up-to-date information and programs available to them.
You may wonder how we are able to connect with these businesses. By using the Dun and Bradstreet program, the MassHire BizWorks team can identify and outreach to many certified minority-owned businesses. However, we’ve learned there are many more that have not self-identified yet. We’re working diligently to connect with these businesses as well! To accomplish this, we will be using several Dun & Bradstreet reports that show disparities in the number of the represented minority-owned business and areas where we need more attention.
We are proud to be making such valuable connections and inroads into markets that need the most assistance. As a part of this initiative, MassHire BizWorks has worked with businesses such as Southwick Social Ventures in Lawrence and City Fresh Foods in Roxbury to help make a difference.BizWorks@mass.gov!
If you are a business that would like more information, please connect with us at (800) 252-1591 or
Funding that supports small businesses across the state:
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) announced over $6 million in small business technical assistance grants to 59 non-profit organizations across the Commonwealth made possible by the Baker-Polito Administration on October 24. The state-funded Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program, administered by MGCC, aims to expand economic and entrepreneurial opportunities in underserved communities throughout Massachusetts. Grants range from $20,000 to $175,000 and enable technical assistance partners to provide crucial support such as individualized business management assistance, financial training, access to capital, and loan packaging services to under-resourced small businesses in urban and rural communities. The grant recipients, selected through a competitive process, are as diverse as the businesses they serve. They include community development corporations, micro lenders, and chambers of commerce that are committed to help small businesses flourish and to improve the local economy. Key industries receiving support include small businesses in the creative economy, agricultural and food sectors, and retail, service and hospitality businesses. Several notable organizations that received grants were the Center for Women and Enterprise, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the Berkshire Black Economic Council.
MGCC Grants Help Sustain Minority-Owned Businesses through the Pandemic
MGCC’s mission is to create and preserve jobs at small businesses in Massachusetts, especially those owned by women, minorities, immigrants, and veterans. MGCC also works to promote economic development throughout the Commonwealth, with special attention on the needs of businesses in underserved areas, the Gateway Cities and low-and moderate-income communities.Japú Restaurant in Lawrence and La Passe Dance Company in Norwood are just two of the minority businesses that have benefited from MGCC support since the pandemic. Japú Restaurant received two grants totaling $80,000: a $5,000 Empower Digital Grant and a $75,000 COVID Small Business Relief Grant. The Empower Digital grant enabled Japú Restaurant’s owners to grow its online presence, including on social media. They used the COVIC Small Business Relief Grant to support payroll and benefits for employees and pay the business’ rent and utilities. The Empower Digital Grant Program awards up to $5,000 for Massachusetts-based small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals looking for tools and services to develop their digital capabilities in partnership with a Small Business Technical Assistance provider. “We are receiving more exposure through the different social media platforms,” owner Nieves Toribio said. “We are receiving many new clients and they tell us how they find us. We are very satisfied and greatly appreciate that our business received this assistance.” La Passe Dance Company received seven grant awards totaling approximately $150,000 through various rounds of funding from COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Programs. “The dance studio business, it’s very low margins, mainly because you need such a large space for dancing, and the space is so expensive,” co-owner Renzo Aida said. “So, to begin with, we already had such small margins. And, if you shut down for two weeks, that kind of wiped us out. So, it was rough.” He and co-owner Nina DiPerrio pivoted to offering online classes during the pandemic, but it was still a struggle to make ends meet. So, they were excited to learn about the relief grants. Aida and DiPerrio used the grants to help pay for rent, other operating expenses, such as utilities and common area stock, and payroll. The grants allowed them to retain all their staff, which was vital to the business.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources
We want to provide you with several more resources to help increase understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your workplace.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has a website that helps employers and human resources staff find the resources they need to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities as well as make their workplaces more inclusive.www.AskEARN.org
- Out & Equal has resource guides on everything from self-evaluation on LGBTQIA+ workplace inclusion to practical guidance on how to implement successful practices and norms around pronouns in the workplace, maintaining good practices around mental health and well-being, basic concepts surrounding gender, gender neutral language, pronouns, facilities, and more. www.outandequal.org
- The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development recently completed a reorganization that shifted resources to create the Department of Economic Research. This was done to meet the increasing economic data needs of the Commonwealth. The department recently released workforce equity dashboards that will be updated quarterly. You now have access to equity dashboards for Asian American residents, Blacks and African American residents, Hispanic and Latino residents, and women residents. They provide data on a variety of characteristics such as employment trends, residence, industry representation, median income, graduation rates, and labor force status. www.mass.gov/info-details/department-of-economic-research-equity-dashboards
- The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau “champions policies and standards that safeguard the interests of working women, advocates for the equality and economic security of women and their families, and promotes quality work environments.” It provides grants that support women in the workforce as well as investigates and reports to the U.S. Department of Labor on “the welfare of women in industry.” It also is another data resource for occupational trends, labor force participation rates, and more. www.dol.gov/agencies/wb
- If your business is owned by minorities, women, and/or veterans, you could find new opportunities and prospects through the state’s Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) certification. Certification is free and has many benefits, giving you updates on upcoming state contracts and invitations to training and networking events. Your business also will be added to the SDO’s vendor database, which is used by Prime Vendors and state departments looking to spend with diverse and small businesses. mass.gov/sdo
Gateway Cities Business Legacy Program Targets Retiring Owners in Massachusetts
Are you a business owner weighing retirement or exiting your business? Could you see your employees taking over but don’t know how it would work? An employee ownership transition could help you retire on your own terms and leave a lasting positive legacy by becoming a worker cooperative or an ESOP. MassCEO and the Fund for Jobs Worth Owning, Massachusetts business owners can receive no cost technical assistance and financing to transition to employee ownership. This includes:
In partnership with
- No-cost succession planning services and employee ownership feasibility consulting ($5,000 value, available statewide)
- No-cost technical assistance to convert the business to an employee-owned model and complete the sale ($25,000 value, Gateway City Business only)
- Access to financing that is not dependent upon the personal resources of your employees to purchase the business (available statewide)
The 26 Gateway Cities, as defined by the state Legislature, are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.apply for the Business Legacy Program online today! A MassCEO representative will get back to you within 3 business days. For more information contact Program Director Shavon Prophet at firstname.lastname@example.org.