SBA Massachusetts Newsletter | March 2018 (updated time typo)

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

March 2018

SBA Celebrates Women's History Month

U.S. Small Business Administration - Massachusetts District Office


In 2012, women were majority owners of 9.9 million businesses which generated $1.4 trillion in sales and employed over 8.4 million individuals. In addition, another 2.5 million businesses were equally-owned by women and men, and they accounted for another $1.1 trillion in sales and 6.5 million jobs. As majority and joint business owners, women entrepreneurs generated $453 billion in payroll for 14.9 million workers through over 12.3 million businesses. >>Read more

Success Story: Cookies to Contracting: Expand Your Business with SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program


(image courtesy of Ancient Bakers) 

In 2002, Tonya Johnson’s 15-month old son was diagnosed with recurring anemia, suffering from acute malnutrition and multiple food allergies.  Tonya had to learn a new way to care for her son, and discovered that introducing nutrient dense, allergen friendly and easy to digest foods to his diet –helped stabilize his fragile health condition.  After developing special recipes that helped her son to recover – Tonya and her mother started Vision's Sown, An Ancient Vegan Baking Company. 

While looking for ways to grow her business, Tonya began researching small business assistance programs and came across the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program.  Attracted by the business resources offered, Tonya set out to apply in the fall of 2005; however, the mother-daughter team’s initial 8(a) application did not get approved.

Driven to participate in the 8(a) program – Tonya kept selling her nutrient-rich, plant-based cookies and set goals to tackle the gaps in her education in order to strengthen her case for becoming a government contractor. Tonya became a student of federal contracting and studied ways the government purchases products and services.  She learned that federal agencies purchase a range of bakery products in volume with multi-year contracts from food service contractors.  Along with building her contracting knowledge, Tonya also pursued her MBA from Simmons School of Management and was accepted into SBA’s Emerging Leaders program – where she went deeper into developing her food service business strategy.   

Once Tonya graduated from Simmons, she felt ready to take the next step and submitted her SBA 8(a) program application again – this time, her application was approved under NAICS code 311812 for commercial baking!    (Continued below)

JOIN US! SBA Massachusetts Women's History Month Celebration

Monday, March 26, 2018

2:30 PM – 5:00 PM EST


Location: Babson College, 231 Forest Street, Wellesley, MA 02457


Keynote Speaker:
Joe Kennedy III is proud to serve the Fourth District of Massachusetts in Congress. Currently in his third term, he represents a diverse district that stretches from the suburbs of Boston to the more industrial cities of Massachusetts’ South Coast.


2:30pm Check-in and Networking

3:00pm Welcoming Remarks

  • Susan Rittscher, CEO Center for Women & Enterprise
  • Babson College
  • Robert H. Nelson, District Director
    SBA Massachusetts District Office
  • Wendell G. Davis, Regional Administrator
    SBA New England Regional Office

3:30pm Keynote Speaker
Congressman Joe Kennedy III

3:40pm Break

3:50pm “The Art of Networking”
Julie Levin is a Certified Professional specializing in coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs and women in business. Julie will explore the art of making authentic connections that will help you open more doors.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn what to say to articulate who you are, what you do, and what you offer in an elevator pitch
  • Learn effective ways to maximize how you connect with others
  • Understand the appropriate way to follow up on connections
  • Create a personal networking action plan

If there are any questions, please contact:

Success Story: Cookies to Contracting: Expand Your Business with SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program (continued from above)


As a new participant in the program – Tonya received guidance from Nadine Boone, Lead Business Development Specialist in the SBA Massachusetts District Office who helped her navigate the program.  Nadine shared an opportunity with Tonya that she wouldn’t have considered just a few years ago.  Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod was having issues with onsite food service for their weekend reservist drills.  Air National Guard Reservists were going off base to eat instead of eating in the cafeteria, causing time and security issues.  The base tried caterers with no success, and in-house personnel didn’t work because they were deployed too often to keep a steady staff. 

When Nadine shared the OTIS Air National Guard Food Services sole-source contract opportunity with Tonya, she was nervous about the level of food service responsibilities involved. However, as a commercial baker Tonya already possessed the necessary skill set, certifications, licenses, permits and insurance necessary to fulfill her first a government contract.  Nadine continued working with Tonya to further explore the natural progression between commercial baking, catering, food service contractor, and any other relevant industry codes.  With this new understanding of how to market her services, Tonya added the food service contractor NAICS code to her capability statement, SAM, and Dynamic Small Business profiles; to expand her opportunities for future federal government contracts.

It was the willingness of MSgt. Kirk Wetherbee, Contracting Officer at OTIS and his team for working with me to shape my company’s first 8(a) contract proposal,” said Tonya.  “Working with a contracting officer who understands the SBA 8a program was the key to securing my initial contract.” 

Now with new knowledge and confidence, Tonya moved forward and built a dedicated team for the OTIS contract by creating 6 new part-time jobs consisting of: a head chef, a team of cooks, Tonya as head baker, and a utility person.  Tonya and her team’s first drill took place the weekend of June 9th – 11th, 2017 at the Arnold Hall dining facility at OTIS. 

Before Tonya and her team contracted with OTIS, attendance at the dining hall had fallen off dramatically.  As a result of the new dining services, attendance steadily increased with each drill and her team keeps receiving rave reviews about the food, resulting in the contract being renewed for another year!


About the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

  • The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for entrepreneurs. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.
  • Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $7.0 million for manufacturing. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, we also encourage participation in competitive acquisitions.
  • 8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts.  

For questions about the 8(a) Business Development program, visit or email:


WEBINAR - SMALL BIZ GRANT INFO SESSION: Massachusetts Manufacturing Investment Initiative (M2I2) Info Session


Thu, March 29, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT


Presenter:Ira Moskowitz, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Programs / The Innovation Institute at the MassTech Collaborative

Launched by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2016, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) aims to help Massachusetts manufacturers adopt innovative new technologies and provides a vehicle for the Commonwealth to invest in the national Manufacturing USA program. The Baker-Polito Administration has committed $100 million-plus in funding over five years to support M2I2 projects across the Commonwealth.

These investments are managed by Farhad Vazehgoo and Ira Moskowitz, who oversee Advanced Manufacturing Programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech), working in close partnership with the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Farhad and Ira will discuss the genesis of the program, including how the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers under M2I2 helps advance innovation and job growth by strengthening collaborations among the Commonwealth’s leading companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other workforce training institutions.

MassTech’s Workshop will focus on the benefits that small businesses can gain from M2I2-supported partnerships, the types of projects the program targets, and highlights of the recent M2I2-supported projects that are driving innovation in advanced fabrics, flexible-hybrid electronics, integrated photonics, and collaborative robotics.

To read more about M2I2 visit:


WEBINAR: Intro to Online Marketing



Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT


Learn how customers find your business online and how to promote your online presence using search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. We’ll also introduce tools that will help you run your business online, including Google Analytics and Trends.

Online Government Contracting Training: March 7(j) Classes


Learn more / register for 7J Training HERE!

U.S. Small Business Administration offers the 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program for eligible Small Businesses. Training is provided by Stover & Associates, Inc. For more information and to register, please visit: Stover & Associates


Marketing to the Government Buyer
April 2, 2018
1:00—4:00 pm EDT

Capture Management
April 3, 2018
1:00—4:00 pm EDT

Developing and Managing Contractor Teams
April 4, 2018
1:00—3:00 pm EDT

Federal Contracting Basics
April 5, 2018
1:00—4:00 pm EDT

Understanding RFPs
April 9, 2018
1:00—3:30 pm EDT

Developing Technical and Past Performance Responses to RFPs
April 10, 2018
5:00—8:00 pm EDT

Developing Pricing and the Cost Proposal
April 11, 2018
1:00—4:00 pm EDT

How to Qualify for the GSA Schedule
April 12, 2018
1:00—3:00 pm EDT

Managing and Administrating Government Contracts
April 16, 2018
1:00—4:00 pm EDT

Government Contract Negotiations
April 17, 2018
1:00—5:00 pm EDT

Audits and Accounting Systems
April 18, 2018
1:00—4:30 pm EDT

Strategic Planning for Small Business
April 19, 2018
1:00—2:00 pm EDT

Construction Contracting
April 23, 2018
5:00—8:00 pm EDT

Facilities Clearances
April 24, 2018
1:00—2:00 pm EDT

FAR Primer for Small Business
April 25, 2018
1:00—5:00 pm EDT



Do I qualify to participate?

This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

  • Have annual revenues of at least $400,000
  • Have been in business for at least 3 years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self

What are the key program highlights? 

  • Customized training for “C” (CEO, COO, etc.) level executives with demonstrated business sustainability of at least 3 years in business and annual revenue of at least $400K 
  • Participant recruitment begins in February through SBA’s local district offices and classes typically begin in April
  • A three-year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets to help the participant emerge as self-sustaining businesses that creates jobs and build communities
  • Includes 100 + hours of professional specialized training and peer-to-peer counseling delivered over the course of seven months
  • Specialized areas of training include:
  • Growth Strategies Plans
  • Financing and Access to Capital
  • Government Contracting
  • CEO Mentoring

>>Register your interest / Learn more

SBA Events

Thursday, March 1st - Springfield Branch Manager, Oreste Varela, talks small business fundamentals to young entrepreneurs at Springfield’s Putnam Vocational Technical Academy. Putnam VoTech is the only VoTech High School in Springfield, MA. It is also the only High School with a young entrepreneur program.


Wednesday, February 28th - Massachusetts District Office held the 3rd Annual Black History Month Celebration at the Tip O’Neill Federal Building yesterday with over 80 participants.  Wendell G. Davis, New England Regional Administrator kicked off the event, followed by National Anthem by Valarie Briggs of USDA Food and Nutrition Service; presentation by the Blacks in Government Boston Chapter; the keynote speaker was Shawn Quigley, from the National Park Service at Boston African American National Historic Site who shared a story about the 54th Regiment - highlighting William Carney, the first African American to be granted the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1900 for his saving of the regimental colors during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. Also part of the program were two panels on financing and contracting:  1. “Linking Small Businesses to Lenders" panel moderated by Ili Spahiu, with lenders: Dennis Hermonstyne, Santander Bank Peter Rice, Berkshire Bank; Robert Williams, Mass Growth Capital and Jim McSherry, Dorchester Bay Economic Corp;   2.“Opening Doors” contracting panel moderated by Carlos Hernandez with: Jerry Smith, GSA; John Fitzgerald, Mass Operational Services Division; Prayas Neupane, City of Boston; Denise Jones, Dnutch Associates; Ramon Erinna, Erinna Construction; Francis M. Kemp, President, Veterans Constructions, LLC


Saturday, February 17th – Nadine Boone, Lead Business Development Specialist presented a session on Government Contracting for the VETRN program which trains veteran entrepreneurs with the Streetwise MBA curriculum in small cohorts.  The VETRN program includes mentoring support, guest lecturers in every class who come from the sales & marketing, business, finance, accounting, real estate, banking and legal communities, access to financing sources and a referral network of professionals who can provide services on a pro bono basis.


Thursday, February 15th – District Director, Bob Nelson Talking appeared on CH3 TV in Worcester as a guest on “The Chamber Exchange” – a show hosted by Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Tim Murray.  Mr. Nelson recorded two segments – the first to talk about SBA programs and services in general; and the second focusing on recruitment for the SBA Emerging Leaders program coming to the City of Worcester for the first time.   


Monday, February 12th - Oreste Varela, Springfield Branch Manager and Veteran Business Development Officer leads a group of Veterans through the Boots to Business Workshop at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts.



Protect Your Business Brand with Copyright & Trademark

Tuesday, March 20
3pm - 5pm
CWE Eastern MA
24 School St., 7th Fl.
Boston, MA  02108
As an entrepreneur with an innovative product or service, it is essential to know how to protect your brand, your name, and your ideas. Join us for this informative session on trademarks and copyrights.  
($25) Register

Understanding Cash Flow Management

Weds, March 21
1:00pm -3:00pm
Many new business owners feel intimidated by the financial aspects of running their new venture, however, it is vital to the success of any business strategy. This workshop will help you to understand the importance of proper cash flow management and how it can help your business survive and thrive during the first years of operation. 
($20) Register

Grow Your Business via 8(a) Business Development

Thursday, March 22
10 Causeway Street, Rm. 265, Boston
The 8(a) Business Development Program is intended to help socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners: Gain federal contracts;Grow your businesses; Gain access to sole source contracts and get technical assistance. (FREE) Register 

Opening Doors to Federal Government Contracting

Friday, March 23, 10:00am - 12:00pm  
O'Neill Federal Building, Suite 265,
10 Causeway St, Boston, MA 02222
Small business certifications are like professional certifications; they document a special capability or status that will help you compete in the marketplace. Learn more about certifications at this workshop.  
(FREE) Register

Financing Strategies: Learn From The Experts

Tues, March 27
11am – 1pm
CWE Eastern MA
24 School St., 7th Fl.
Boston, MA  02108
If you are in the process of launching a new business, or thinking about starting one, this panel discussion will help you understand the variety of financing options available to new business owners. 
(FREE) Register

READY... SET... GROW! (Session II)

Weds, March 28
6:30pm to 8pm 
Attleboro Public Library
74 N Main St, Attleboro, MA 02703
Led by the SBA, this program is part two of a three-part informational series on starting or expanding your own business. Come for one session, or come for all! During this second session, attendees will learn the financials of a business plan, including 7(a) loans, microloans, SBA Express Loans, 504 Loan Program, an overview of the 5 Cs of credit, and more. 
(FREE) Register

Explore Small Business Administration (SBA) Resources

Thurs, March 29 11am-1pm
CWE Eastern MA
24 School St., 7th Fl.
Boston, MA  02108
This workshop is presented by a member of the local SBA team and is designed to help entrepreneurs understand the various SBA programs and services available to help them start or expand a business.
(FREE) Register

AARP: Work for Yourself @ 50+ 

Thursday, March 29
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Kirstein Business Library
Exchange Room
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss? Let Work for Yourself@50+ help you get started.  Join us for an interactive workshop where you'll learn to:
Explore your options
Find your focus
Make a plan
Watch out for trouble
Connect with resources in your community
(FREE) Register