It’s opening day for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program.
While select lenders and applicants could submit applications last week, the portal officially opens this morning.
Today should also be “be patient with your local banker day,” because today will certainly be hectic and stressful as they -- and you -- navigate
new eligibility rules and limits
Unfortunately, there's no wait until next year for many businesses. These funds will determine if they make it until spring. It's that important.
Your chamber will be hosting a PPP zoominar this Friday.
New firm to help hire business leaders of color
We also wanted to send a strong statement to our businesses, nonprofits and social institutions to replace the phrase “we can’t find qualified candidates
of color” with the names here and the many other exemplary people of color working and seeking opportunities here.
Phillips has just launched GK Execu-Search
an executive placement firm working exclusively with business leaders of color to fill C-Suite roles, board memberships and leadership positions just
below the C-suite. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more here.
Hey Boston Globe, don’t forget our restaurants!
As of last night, the Boston Globe’s “Project Takeout
directory map of restaurants offering takeout
was still woefully light on restaurants in our west suburban communities, which is ironic since we know that Globe readership is especially high in
Here’s a list 203 local restaurants
offering takeout in our area that our friends at the Globe are welcome to use. (Or perhaps there's someone out here in chamberland who wants to volunteer
to upload all our restaurants to their map.)
If there’s any doubt that restaurants are struggling, this tweet
from the Globe’s Toff Wallack tells us all we need to know: MA meals tax revenue was down 36% in December, compared to 2019. But regular sales tax
revenue was up 6%.
NBC10 offers nonprofit grants
Local nonprofits that are helping to move communities forward by encouraging a culture of equity and inclusion, creating pathways for individuals to participate
and volunteer in community engagement efforts, fostering the next generation of storytellers and providing youth with the tools they need to succeed
across multiple disciplines including entrepreneurship, are encouraged to apply at nbcuprojectinnovation.com
The stations and the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation will together award a total of $315,000 (up from $225,000) to a maximum of 12 community organizations
Fire side hangouts at Arsenal
Winter isn’t intimidating the folks at Arsenal Yards
You can now reserve
your own socially distanced, outdoor propane fire pit to enjoy outdoor dining from Arsenal Yards’ restaurants in Watertown. They’re also hosting special
socially-distanced events throughout the winter featuring live musicians and DJs.
Meanwhile, Arsenal Yard’s developer, Boylston Properties
hosted the first of two community meetings last week to unveil the proposed design of One Arsenal Marketplace, the existing office building and parking
garage located at 617 Arsenal St
., as Phase B of the Arsenal
Phase B consists of the renovation of 617 Arsenal St
., home of
the recently closed Miller's Ale House, into a life science lab space. The renovations will focus mainly on the office space in the current building
while keeping the majority of the parking garage intact, Wicked Local Watertown reports
A second community meeting will be held virtually via Zoom
Thursday (Jan 21) at 6:30 p.m. (Webinar ID: 995 5862 9017 Passcode: 916154).
COVID relief funds for Newton businesses
$300,000 in grants are available to hard-hit brick and mortar businesses in Newton, through a new round of the Community Development Block Grant program.
The city will award grants
from $10,000 for microenterprises (five employees or fewer, including the owner) to $15,000 for small businesses with 5+ to 20 employees.
Awards can help pay for commercial rent or mortgage, wages, loss of inventory and other demonstrated costs. (Independent contractors and consultants, home-based
businesses, liquor stores, franchisees of national or regional chain businesses and nonprofits are not eligible under federal rules.) Details here
Deadline Feb. 8.
Need to knows
- Looking for information about vaccines? The Mass. Department of Public Health COVID-19 website,
includes information about when you, employees or family members will be eligible for a vaccine.
Email questions to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
- The Department of Conservation and Recreation will give an overview of a redesign of Hammond Pond Parkway (from Beacon Street to The Street near Rt.
9) that aims to make the road more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. Attend the Zoom meeting on Thursday (Jan. 21) at 7 p.m. Register
- The Massachusetts Equitable PPP Access Initiative offers help applying for a PPP loan in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Arabic & Portuguese.
Baker nixes several transit initiatives
The overall package provides essential funds to multiple capital projects, including transit, bridge road, sidewalks, roadways, pedestrian and bikeways
But Baker vetoed a proposal designed to raise revenue by increasing some of the nation’s lowest ride share fees for companies such as Uber and Lyft. The
Metropolitan Area Planning Council estimated the fees would have raised upward
of $56 million, providing essential transit funds for cities and towns and critical new investments in the MBTA and transit authorities. (Last year,
Baker actually proposed
increasing ride share fees, but only to $1 per ride rather the tiered structure approved by lawmakers.)
Also vetoed was a provision championed
by Sen. President Karen Spilka which would have made sure those of us who live and work in the western burbs won't be subject to higher Mass Pike tolls
to pay for that massive I-90 project
in Allston if a provision.
As Spilka put it in a recent interview
“The MetroWest commuter should absolutely not be financing this project, which is essentially a land development... It’s absolutely not fair to use
the tolls as an ATM to pay for things that don’t benefit MetroWest, Central Mass and Western Mass commuters."
And speaking of tolls, Baker also struck a call to create a commission to study equitable toll pricing and congestion pricing
to alleviate congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“[We] cannot understand why the Commonwealth should be unwilling even to study a powerful tool that is already working effectively in other states and
countries,” MAPC said in a statement
Can we add your company to this list?
Finally this morning, join me in welcoming the following businesses and nonprofits who joined or reinstated their memberships at the end of 2020.
Chamber membership and annual partnerships make the chamber’s programming and advocacy (including this newsletter) possible.
We literally could not do this without our members.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber