Category: Economics

WBI’s ‘Are We Here Yet?’ Podcast


The Wachusett Business Incubator is pleased to announce the launch of our long awaited podcast.  The ‘Are We Here Yet?’ Podcast seeks to bring vibrant storytelling from the entrepreneurs, creative-class warriors and dynamic citizens that collectively tell the story of modern-day America.

Add to that special tidbits like our EssaysMillennial Music Challenge, our Town Hall Mastermind Sessions and more.  We hope you find enlightenment and entertainment in each episode we present.

Listen to Episode #18 ‘Reconnect o Your Humanity’ w/ writer and artist Levi Baruch

Listen to Episode #17 ‘Business, Education and the Disappearing Island w/Elmer Eubanks

Listen to Episode #16 ‘Break Every String’ feat: Poet Joshua Michael Stewart

Listen to Episode #15 ‘From the Presidents Office’ Interview w/ Jen Benson, President of Alliance for Business Leadership

Listen to Episode #14 ‘This Soft Serve Sure isCreamy!’ with creators of the Soft Serve Podcast, Sawtooth Frank & Stomping Jenn

Listen to Episode #13 ‘Why Business Triage feat. Dave Lubelczyk, Meagan Donoghue, Alex Wade

Listen to Episode #12: Smart Banking with Courtney Fifield & Luis Cisneros

Listen to Episode #11 ‘Let the Land Speak’ w/ Anna Wilkins

Listen to Episode #10: The State of Women in Business w/ Michelle Miller

Listen to Episode #9: Visionaries Represent! w/ Alyssa Rizzo 

Listen Now to Episode #8: Building a Town for a New Era: Alec Wade

Listen Now to Episode #7: Mayoral Candidate Scott Cordeiro

Listen Now to Episode #6: Playin’ Catch Up With Scott and Cam 

Listen Now to Episode #5: Decision 2020 Gardner Mayoral Candidate Christine Johnson

Listen Now to Episode #4: What’s Next for North Central w/ Glenn Eaton, Brianna Drohen and Alec McLeod

Listen Now to Episode #3: Decision 2020 Gardner Mayoral Candidate Scott J. Graves

Listen Now to Episode #2: Lost in Providence w/ Dave Lubelczyk

Listen Now to Episode #1 My Father’s Legacy


About our Host:

Scott M. Graves is the former executive director of the Wachusett Business Incubator. He is known for a steadfast resolve for intellectual rigor and business strategy.  Nothing makes Scott feel more fulfilled then to help other develop their own unique creativity which leads to fulfillment in work and life.   An entrepreneur in his own right, Scott previously operated the former Smash Music.  He is currently playing lead in developing a multi-disciplinary arts curriculum known as New England Playhouse while spearheading the various initiatives that make up the Wachusett Business Incubator.

Cameron McLeod is the Producer of the “Are We Here Yet?” Podcast. Since his high school days he has been behind the scenes of multiple productions ranging from directing live football games to filming short movies. Using his musical prowess and his technical skills gained from working as an IT professional, Cameron taught himself what it takes to mix and produce music of his own creation. To this day, he strives to better these skills whenever he can.

Underwriting the ‘Are We Here Yet?’ Podcast.

Interested in advertising with us?  Perhaps you want a unique way to support the Wachusett Business Incubator while getting access to our intelligent and informed listeners?  Contact us today for full details regarding underwriting for WBI’s ‘Are We Here Yet?’ Podcast.

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


Gardner Mayoral Candidates offer Economic Development Plans to WBI

The Global Pandemic has effected the community of Gardner in a myriad of ways.  However, it will not limit the Wachusett Business Incubator from influencing the dialogue during our Mayoral Special Election.  By some measures this election, the result of the resignation of recently elected Mark Hawke presents a significant opportunity to change the political discussion and the long-term direction of our wonderful city.

The intent of the Board Of Directors of the Wachusett Business Incubator and that of its staff is to focus attention on the capacity, both now and into the future of each candidates abilities as they relate to economic development.  In lieu of a live forum or debate which would have taken place April 2, 2020 we’ve made the decision to provide a written record, drafted from each of the candidates themselves and sourced from a set of questions we provided to each candidate.  The order in which they appear in this blog article is the order in which we received their answers.  No editing was done to their responses, offering our readers a full account of each candidates approach. 

We implore you to take the time to carefully review each of the candidates thoughts and ideas as they relate to economic development.  There is perhaps no other set of parameters that can have more of an influence on Gardner’s future; whether we can properly finance new schools, better opportunities for the working class, more potential for entrepreneurship, for culturally significant amenities; nothing will become reality for the long-term without the means for financing it. Read more

What is WBI Doing to Address Our Global Health Crisis

The on-going natural crisis we’re experiencing cannot be controlled by any human forces.  But its unfolding has us asking some very important and fundamental questions.  

Is our increasingly privatized approach to systems such as healthcare and food distribution effective?

Are our major energy, food and materials distribution systems resilient in the face of a major pandemic or other natural disaster?

Do we have the social and cultural strength to cope with a multi-staged, complicated natural phenomenon like the one we face?

What role does our financial system play in helping or hurting our capability to properly care for the global population?

Since the pandemic began the WBI has shifted much of its human and financial capital to better focus on the task at hand.  This was not entirely a challenge for us; much of our core programming like the Leadership Candidate Program, our classes and our other amenities are designed to address economic development issues that have only been exacerbated by the current crisis.

Here’s a rundown of our efforts to date.  We offer through these a look into what’s to come in the months and years ahead. Read more