February Newsletter l SBA Celebrates Black History Month

Massachusetts District Office - February 2021

u s small business administration

Black History Month Round Table

Monday, February 22nd at 10AM

Black History Month

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S. This Black History Month, SBA recognizes the contributions Black-owned businesses make to our economy and communities. Take advantage of the following resources SBA has to help you start, grow, expand or recover your business.

Coronavirus relief options
Business guide to start, manage and grow a business
Access to capital
Business counseling and training
Federal contracting


The SBA Massachusetts District Office and Senator Ed Markey invite you to a virtual Black History Month Round Table for Small Businesses.

Join community leaders and the SBA in recognizing the importance of supporting black owned businesses and learn about resources and assistance available for recovery.



Speakers include: SBA lenders, small business support organizations, community leaders, and small business owners. 

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SCORE is here to support all small business owners. As we celebrate Black History Month, SCORE is proud to announce the launch of its new online resource: SCORE for Black Entrepreneurs.


Black entrepreneurs face unique barriers to business success. At SCORE, we’re working to change that by providing Black small business owners with access to personalized support. Browse our comprehensive collection of resources that address the specific challenges Black business owners face in today's world. 

SBA COVID Relief Program Report

Report on SBA's COVID Relief Programs including PPP and EIDL - data as of February 11, 2021



SCORE Success Story: Ursula's About Phace Rittenhouse Studio


"There’s not enough ink in my pen to write about everything that’s great about my mentor, Mr. Mark Maguire. What makes him an exceptional mentor are the qualities he possesses naturally: his willingness to share his genius, skills, knowledge, and expertise - at a level that’s not condescending or confusing -  in a concise manner that makes it easy to understand."

- Ursula Augustine, Ursula's About Phace Rittenhouse Studio

Read Ursula's Story


UPCOMING Virtual Events

Wednesday 2/17/21 / 10:30am - 11:45am
Price it Right! Effective Pricing Strategies and Tactics

Wednesday 2/17/21 / 6:30pm - 7:30pm
How Can the Small Business Administration Help With Your Covid Relief? with Oreste Varela, Springfield Branch Manager

Wednesday 2/17/21 / 5:30pm - 7:00pm
SCORE Western Mass Networking Event

Thursday 2/18/21 / 12:00pm - 1:00pm
CWE Eastern MA: COVID Funding for Sole Proprietors: Yes, You Are Eligible!

Thursday 2/18/21 / 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Starting and Growing a Business

Thursday 2/18/21 / 5:00pm - 6:30pm
CWE Central MA - Social Media Made Simple

Monday 2/22/21 / 12:00pm - 1:00pm
CWE Central MA - Working on Wellness: Lunchtime COVID Fitness Series for Busy Businesspeople

Monday 2/22/21 / 11:00am - 12:30pm
CWE Eastern MA - Explore Small Business Administration Resources

Tuesday 2/23/21 / 11:45am - 1:15pm
HR Essentials: Best Practices in Total Compensation

Tuesday 2/23/21 / 12:00pm - 1:30pm
CWE Central MA - Facebook Advertising for Small Businesses

Tuesday 2/23/21 / 11:00am - 12:30pm
CWE Eastern MA - Explore Small Business Administration Resources

Tuesday 2/23/21 - 4/27/21 / 5:30pm - 8:00pm 
CWE Eastern MA: 10-Week Business Planning Program General Cohort

Wednesday 2/24/21 / 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Your Business Plan: Soup to Nuts

Wednesday 2/24/21 / 10:00am - 11:15am
Lost and Found: Local SEO and Social Proof

Wednesday 2/24/21 / 11:00am - 1:00pm
CWE Eastern MA - Legal Considerations for New Business Owners

Thursday 2/25/21 / 5:00pm - 6:00pm
CWE Eastern MA: Optimize Facebook & Instagram Use During COVID

Friday 2/26/21 / 9:30am - 10:30am
Challenge and Value of a Cross-Cultural Business

Government Contracting

Thursday  2/18/20 / 9:00am - 10:30am
How to do Business with the Federal Government Overview

Thursday  2/25/20 / 9:00am - 10:30am
SBA 8(a) Business Development Eligibility Session

HUBZone Program

The HUBZone Program offers eligibility assistance every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3pm ET via toll free number:  208-391-5817; Conference ID: 278 449 067. Members of our team answer questions to  help firms navigate the certification process.  For specific questions regarding an application, please contact the HUBZone Help Desk at hubzone@sba.gov.

Extension of Participation in 8(a) Business Development Program

1-Year Extension to the SBA’S 8(a) Business Development Program Effective January 13, 2021. Here are key highlights from SBA’s new rule:

- Eligibility: All firms that were in the 8(a) program on 3/13/2020 through 9/9/2020 have the option to extend participation for a period of one year from the end of its program term. Firms that were terminated, early graduated, or voluntarily withdrew during this period are not eligible. Note: firms certified on or after 9/10/2020 are not eligible for the extension.

- Automatic Extension. Firms currently in the 8(a) program as of 1/13/2021 will get an automatic extension unless they decline. The SBA is notifying these firms via email with instructions.

- Graduated Firms. Firms that were participating in the 8(a) program as of 3/13/2020, but then graduated or otherwise left the program before 1/13/2021 can be readmitted but notify SBA within 60 days of 1/13/2021

and meet the 8(a) eligibility requirements. The SBA is notifying these firms via email with instructions.

- Business Activity Target. The business activity target for the extension will remain at 50 percent non-8(a) business.

- Email questions to 8aQuestions@sba.gov Link to Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/13/2021-00602/extension-of-participation-in-8a-business-development-program


Government contracting

SBA Success Story: But Why Buy, Create Your Own Franchise!

Ruth Agbaji

(Photo courtesy of: Office of Congresswoman Trahan)

How Ruth Agbaji started Code Wiz with SBA counseling and capital

By Norman Eng

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census[1], there are over 300 different types of franchise businesses in America – contributing significantly to the fabric of our main streets.  The importance of franchising, particularly in the food service industry is highly impactful.  An estimated 122,042 franchise restaurants make up approximately 54% of all fast-food restaurants and contributes to about 73% of all fast-food restaurant employment. 

In industries other than food service, the data also revealed that franchise ownership was associated with a higher percentage of sales and a higher annual payroll per employee in those businesses – compared with the industry average.  

But Ruth…

Sitting in a counseling session at 125 Woodland Street at the Clark University-based Small Business Development Center – Ruth Agbaji was exploring the possibility of purchasing a STEM education franchise business focusing on coding. 

“But Ruth, why exactly do you need to buy this franchise,” said SBDC Counselor Paula Camara.  “Why can’t you just do this on your own?”

That was the moment when Ruth gained the confidence to say to herself, “Wait you’re right!”  >>Read more


Minority Entrepreneurship: Going from Side Hustle to High-Growth Enterprise

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Join this webinar and learn about the resources available to minority entrepreneurs and practical steps on how to launch, grow and innovate your business.  Watch Recorded Webinar

NOW RECRUITING: SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative - Springfield, MA Cohort

Ready to grow your business? Sign up for SBA's Emerging Leaders Initiative.

The SBA’s Emerging Leaders provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small businesses that are potential job creators. This intensive executive entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time. Emerging Leaders provides participants with the opportunity to work with a network of experienced coaches and mentors, attend specialized workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community. As a result, Emerging Leaders help build sustainable businesses that promote economic development within their communities.

This year Springfield, MA is one of the approved locations for 2021 for Emerging Leaders.  Interested small business owners can learn more regarding eligibility, how to apply, class schedules and locations at 2021 SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, or by reaching out to Springfield Branch Manager Oreste Varela at: Oreste.Varela@sba.gov.  


“I am proud of Emerging Leaders’ success to date, and the impact the training has made in helping to take small businesses from across the country to the next level,” said Allen Gutierrez, Associate Administrator of the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development. “As small businesses are recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, SBA will continue to provide key resources to help businesses to grow even stronger and return to prosperity. Since its inception in 2008, Emerging Leaders has trained more than 4,000 small business owners, creating over 7,000 jobs, generating over $500 million in new financing, and securing over $4 billion in government contracts.”

Meet Some of Our Mentors

Here are a few of the mentors that are standing by and ready to help you achieve your business goals. SCORE mentors have a wide variety of skills and industry experience, are affiliated with SCORE chapters across the U.S., and are ready to connect remotely and help guide you through the many challenges of starting and running a successful business.

Mentor 1

How I Can Help

“I worked in corporate management for 15 years. Here I was, advising other people, and I thought, ‘I should take my own advice.’ I built a bootstrapped startup, so I have a lot of relevant experience for SCORE clients. I’ve been through the MBE/WBE certification process, too.”

Why I'm Here

“When I started out in business, I didn’t really understand how it worked. And that’s because I didn’t have any mentors or resources growing up. A lot of folks don’t have those resources, but through SCORE, I can share what I’ve learned with other entrepreneurs so that they can succeed.”

One More Thing

“I cook a lot. But it’s not just cooking—I like the science behind it. For example, I recently made shrimp scampi, and I spent all this time researching the chemistry of garlic. Raw, minced garlic will give you a stronger flavor, whereas roasted whole cloves are the mildest.”


SBA Launches ASCENT for Women Owned Small Businesses


SBA has announced Ascent, an interactive digital platform packed with resources women business owners need to set, and achieve, their business goals. Ascent is designed for the “missing middle” — growth-oriented women entrepreneurs who are beyond the start-up phase and already generating revenue yet looking to grow and scale. Most learning resources for business owners focus on either start-ups or mature businesses. Ascent is here to change that!

During these challenging times, SBA’s Ascent can also help you elevate your business with research-backed tips and strategies. Within Ascent, you can examine both internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) that may have arisen because of COVID-19 to help you set up a comprehensive recovery strategy. And Ascent is a resource you can turn to again and again, as your business grows and your needs change.

Start learning today at Ascent.SBA.gov

Ascent was created through a joint initiative between the White House, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Bringing these agencies together provides Ascent users with unique access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise not found anywhere else.

Mentor 2

How I Can Help

“I’m a United States Navy Veteran who brings nearly 20 years of experience improving processes, supporting consumers, and utilizing technology to drive business performance. I also launched a community organization that has provided support, training, and mentorship for over 1,600 professionals since 2007.”

Why I'm Here

“I was raised in a family that operated several small businesses, so I know that small business is the economic heartbeat of any community. As a SCORE mentor, I support each client in realizing their own talent as a business leader.”

One More Thing

“I've completed six full marathons, with the lifetime goal of running a marathon on every continent on Earth.”



March 2021 @ 
CWE Eastern MA

Celebrating Women History Month

Share your story and your business with our network

If you would like to be featured in CWE emails, or if you know someone who should be, please email Daysi Meregildo, Program Coordinator at dmeregildo@cweonline.org

Small Business Resource Guide Massachusetts Edition 2020

Check out our latest Massachusetts Edition 2020 - Small Business Resource Guide now available online!

2020 Resource Guide


Please direct all other inquiries and questions to our District Office email at:


FREE and confidential counseling services are available across the Commonwealth. 


Virtual education, training and networking sessions are happening daily.


Please schedule a virtual session with any of our Resource Partners below...

Resource Partner Network

How prepared are you to reopen your business? Check it out here



Staff are working remotely and can be reached via email or telephone. MSBDC is committed to supporting entrepreneurs during these very challenging times.

Request for Counseling

MSBDC advisors can assist businesses with disaster loan applications.

If you are not currently a client and would like to speak with a counselor, please find your region and reach out to the REGIONAL OFFICE SERVING YOU.

Berkshire Regional Office
33 Dunham Mall, Suite 103
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413-499-0933 | Fax: 413-499-3005

Central Regional Office
Clark University
The Carriage House, 125 Woodland Street
Worcester, MA 01610
508-793-7615 | Fax: 508-793-8890

Northeast Regional Office  (SPANISH-SPEAKING COUNSELOR)
Salem State University
121 Loring Avenue, Suite 310
Salem, MA 01970
978-542-6343 | Fax: 978-542-6345

Procurement Technical Assistance Center
Scibelli Enterprise Center
1 Federal Street, Building 1
Springfield, MA 01105
413-545-6303 | Fax: 413-737-2312

Southeast Regional Office
200 Pocasset Street
Fall River, MA 02721
508-673-9783 | Fax: 508-674-1929

Western Regional Office
Scibelli Enterprise Center
One Federal Street, Building 101
Springfield, MA 01105-1160
413-577-1768 | Fax: 413-737-2312



Request for Counseling

Counseling Sessions with BOSTON SCORE CHAPTER:
If you want to speak with a counselor, SCORE is doing tele-consults. Just pick a date and time to schedule a session and enter your contact info, mentors are doing sessions by phone and Zoom video app. 

Reach out to other SCORE CHAPTERS throughout the state below.

SCORE Boston Chapter

SCORE Worcester Chapter

SCORE Northeastern Massachusetts Chapter

SCORE Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter

SCORE Western Massachusetts Chapter

SCORE Cape Cod Chapter

SCORE Rhode Island (Serving Fall River, New Bedford)


CWEWomen's Business Centers


Eastern Massachusetts Center - Boston
44 School St., Suite 200
Boston, MA 02108

Central Massachusetts Center - Westborough
69 Milk St., Ste. 217
Westborough, MA 01581

Veterans Business Outreach Center of New England (VBOC of NE)
132 George M. Cohan Blvd.
Providence, RI 02903


Disclaimer: The SBA does not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites, and does not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.  All programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.