Author: Scott Graves

WBI Hosts Town Hall Mastermind Sessions

The WBI is concerned for our business community. In the very real crisis that is unfolding all around us, the instability and the effects to humanity and to people’s livelihoods is significant.

As part of our Covid response known as WBI’s Business Triage Program, we’re implementing Town Hall Mastermind Sessions.  The first open to the public will take place July 15, 2020 at 12:00PM.  Registration is required. The cost is $10.00 to participate.

Hosted by Senior mentor Dave Lubelczyk of ImageIdentity, LTD, these sessions are open to the public and often attended by small business owners from various parts of the country.  This is a regular opportunity for business owners to voice their concerns and desires, share solutions to the issues that are effecting their business and receive valuable information from WBI senior staff.

We will also host a variety of regional and national experts.  You’ll have the opportunity to weigh in on who you’d like to see us feature and what subject matter can be discussed in future sessions.

Click Here for a current schedule.         Click Here to register for a Mastermind Session.

 

 

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Wachusett Business Incubator Begins Phased Opening

Podcasting Service
Sewing Class Results
Event Space
Come Learn with Us
Meeting space in several Configurations
Classes & Presentations with experts

 

The Wachusett Business Incubator will be phasing in use of it’s 35 Sanborn St. Gardner facility beginning week of July 20.  Our main office area, with 8 individual desk environments, the entirety of our presentation area complete with A/V equipment, our kitchenette, meeting spaces and our training room will be made available to the public beginning July 20, 2020.  Contact us today to book with us!

We are taking every precaution to properly adhere to social distancing requirements.  All protocols are posted throughout the facility for clients reference and a multiplicity of licensing supplies are available throughout the facility for client usage.

We will be phasing in classes including sewing projects with Erin Kiewel.  The first project day will be hosted on July 25, 2020 in our presentation area..  This class will be restricted to 6 participants.  The second class will take place on August 15, 2020.  Stay abreast our on-going class and event schedule here.

Moving forward, we are working to design and promote custom concierge service packages for large corporations who will, moving forward allow their employees to work from home.  ‘The hub and spoke model for co-working services, we believe, will be a significant factor fro economic development in our region,’ said executive director Scott M. Graves.  ‘We are in a unique position to provide meeting, desk and presentation space which, coupled with child care, food service, equipment rental, car repair and other high-end services will be attractive to corporate clients with large employee populations close by. Contact us today to book with us!

Every workday the North Central Massachusetts region looses ~79,000 professionals who commute, largely to the east, for jobs outside the territory.  This translates to a net loss during workdays of ~39,700 professional class people not eating in our restaurants, not making purchases in our local retailers, not meeting in our coffee shops, not joining our Rotary clubs and other service organizations because they leave during the work day.

The WBI Announces Immediate Covid-19 Response Relief in Business Triage Program

We’re dedicated to the economic health of the communities of North Central Massachusetts.  In order to directly and meaningfully respond to the economic issues of our cities and towns, which have been exacerbated by the current pandemic the WBI is expanding to include locations in Fitchburg, MA and Orange, MA.

‘In direct response to the challenges exacerbated by our global health crisis, the WBI re-allocating 35% of our existing budget to expand our Business Triage Program to locations in Fitchburg and Orange’ said Executive Director Scott M. Graves.  ‘We are actively seeking additional private and public sources of funding for Business Triage to implement in the north central region and to sustain it for our existing location in Gardner.  We are extremely eager to dig in and help our fellow entrepreneurs.’

The Fitchburg location is in partnership with the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority.  FRA Executive Director Meagan Donoghue said, ‘The FRA is eager to partner with the WBI to bring innovative programming and mentoring to the Fitchburg business community. This exciting endeavor fits within our mission to provide business development in the community and we’re pleased the WBI has chosen Fitchburg and the FRA to partner with.’

Clients can expect premium service from experienced WBI senior mentors. The Business Triage Program will include: 

  • Weekly Mastermind sessions town hall style held remotely and in person when deemed safe.  New prospects and existing clients can participate.
  • A custom intake interview to determine specific project parameters for improving the client’s business.  
  • One on one mentorship on a bi-weekly basis
  • Clients receive small, incremental goals and are held accountable to those goals on a bi-weekly basis.

Included in these sessions are business owners from all over the country to strategize and determine ways to address current issues we all face during the pandemic.

Click Here to become a WBI Business Triage client

‘Orange is a town comprised of almost entirely small business owners,’ said Orange Community Development Director Alec Wade about making the move to host the WBI in Orange. ‘The pandemic has most certainly created unique challenges and forced changes in business operation. Scott and his team will work hard to help our business owners pivot and evolve their business to meet the current conditions. We are ecstatic to be able to host such a business-friendly service to our business community.’

 

WBI staff will have a presence in the communities in which we serve.  Our new locations are Orange Location at LaunchSpace: 131 W Main St. Suite 342 Orange, MA 01364 and for Fitchburg 166 Boulder Dr. Suite 104, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

Complete Program details for Business Triage, Leadership Candidate and for all of the WBI’s programs please find us at wachusettincubator.com. 

A Post-Pandemic Focus on Development

As I write this, two businesses have closed down in as many days in the downtown district of my adopted community of Gardner, MA.  One, a yoga studio dedicated to well-being and another, a diner that supplied locals with a gathering place.  They closed for different reasons and their owners circumstances were different.  The pandemic; both its timing and the requirements it now places upon all of us played a key role.  

But I cannot get out of my mind the fact that our economy, one that clearly favors the corporate, the out-of-town, the new development ‘growth’ approach to post-war United States has played its role over many decades.  All over the United States, business owners are making the decision to close up, to draw down, to reduce, to transition or to pivot one last time when it makes sense to keep going. 

We entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch.  You have to be in any environment to believe you can grow a business. I never tire at admiring my fellow entrepreneurs for their dedication.  Their ability to believe when nobody else does.  

But it takes more than just the entrepreneur to build a success story.  

It also takes all of us.  And since the post war boom years we’ve simply been lulled to sleep.    

Here’s what you didn’t know about those downtown stores.  

Our ancestors were  hearty people. They were also shrewd in business.  The commercial districts they developed were built incrementally. A rough calculation of tax revenue per acre on most downtown commercial or mixed use buildings often shows that even partially occupied, blighted downtown properties generate more tax revenue than their outside of town, mid-century counterparts.  Factor in the cost of infrastructure to those far-flung developments and the tax breaks we religiously offered developers time and again and all we’ve really done is built insolvency into our municipal debt obligations.

This development pattern hurts the sales of downtown businesses even as they, by design, create an environment in which urban core business owners end up subsidizing the tax breaks offered to those developers of sprawl.

We’ve done this over and over again.  

This is typical.  

We embarked on this new experiment in development after World War II.  Our incredible wealth and position as the last industrial power standing gave us the runway to build the United States you and I know.  We built the efficacy of an urban core nearly out of existence.   

In cities just like our little city of Gardner it’s time we focus on our urban center.  The revitalization of that urban center as a place for residential and commercial opportunities that are attractive to a wide socio-economic demographic.  An urban core attractive to young people and those that value public access, public infrastructure, transportation and recognize the value of the hard work they and their neighbors will pour into that neighborhood.

To continue to promote an out-dated method of development is to demote the value of local business, local culture and local empowerment.

 

Scott M. Graves is Executive Director of the Wachusett Business Incubator and Host of WBI’s ‘Are We Here Yet/” Podcast.  He is a tireless advocate of rural economic empowerment and for developing our cities and towns in intentional and intelligent ways. Find information on programming such as WBI’s Business Triage and how you can get involved in the Wachusett Business Incubator’s  Leadership Candidates Program.

Contact Scott here

 

The Great Re-Set: It’s Our Time.

The period in which we are now living is history in the flesh at every moment.  In times like these we would be missing a huge opportunity if we did not take moments to consider where we are going next.

It’s time to use OUR time wisely. 

Take planning for instance.  Specifically, the past, present and future of planning our communities.  

For around 90 years much of our progress in the arena of city planning centered  around the automobile.  How do we best get the automobile, safely from point A to point B.  How do we allow for smooth and efficient travel between communities.  How to we optimize a world for personal transportation.  

The change over the 2oth century was profound.  A century on and we find ourselves in a place to take a breath and assess whether we appreciate the results.  Many of us concerned have begun to sift through fact from myth.  

So, Do we.  Appreciate the results? 

Our world is one of segmentation.  In our part of New England that means most professional class individuals commute an hour or more each way per day from a place in which they live to a place in which they work.  In many communities the place in which one recreates is also some distance from the work and residential sectors.  In this environment:

Some truths we’ve learned over the last century regarding medium to high density, mixed use living. 

  • Mile for mile, it’s a better use of taxpayer funds.
  • Designed in the right way, development generates municipal funding sustainably.
  • The social fabric of a community becomes more vibrant when people live and work in one place.
  • The mental and physical health of people is better maintained. 

We have an opportunity.  It’s time.  It’s OUR time.  

Scott M. Graves is Executive Director of the Wachusett Business Incubator and Host of WBI’s ‘Are We Here Yet/” Podcast.  Additionally he is founder of The New England Playhouse and Arts Innovation Center, an independent music education company in Massachusetts.  Find out how you can benefit from the WBI’s Leadership Candidates Program.

Contact Scott here