News

PERC OFFERS ASSISTANCE TO BERKSHIRE COUNTY BUSINESSES

April 14, 2016 PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC) is seeking applicants for matching grants of up to $5,000 that it can award to businesses in Pittsfield and Berkshire County for technical assistance services, such as financial, architectural, legal, engineering, or specialized business planning services.  The funding was awarded to PERC by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.   Jay Anderson, President of PERC commented:  “PERC has participated in the state technical assistance program for nearly a decade and it has been of true benefit to the businesses that have strengthened their businesses, added employees, and invested in the expansion of their businesses.  The impact on the local economy has been very positive.”   The purpose of the technical assistance grant program is to help small businesses with twenty or fewer employees expand, grow, improve their operations and create jobs.  Women, minority, immigrant, low-income, previously unemployed and military veterans are encouraged to apply for these funds.  Applications will be accepted through mid-May and grants will be committed by June.   Additional business counseling assistance is being provided in the northern Berkshire area this year through PERC’s collaboration with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation.  Guidance is offered to business owners that are seeking to stabilize or grow their business.  They can contact Amy Shapiro at (413) 774-7204, ext. 107 or by email at amys@fccdc.org.   PERC also has available business loan and technical assistance programs supplied by the City of Pittsfield that support businesses within the city.  These programs run the gamut from microloans for low-income entrepreneurs up to small business loans that can aid in the expansion of larger, existing businesses.  These programs are available on a continuing basis, thanks to funding from the city’s Community Development Block Grant.   Applications are reviewed by a PERC committee, prior to being committed by the Board of Directors.  Decisions are based on the merit of each project and the eligibility of the applicant for the program.   Program information and eligibility guidelines are located on www.PERCloans.com and may also be obtained by contacting Ann W. Dobrowolski at PERC, (413) 499-9371, in the Department of Community Development, 70 Allen Street, Room 205, Pittsfield.  

PERC Enters Into Strategic Planning Process

February 26, 2016 PITTSFIELD - The Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation is requesting proposals from consultants that can guide PERC through a strategic planning process and produce a strategic plan document.  Proposals are due Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 2:00 P.M.  The Request for Proposals is available here or you may contact PERC at (413) 499-9371 for a copy. PERC Strategic Plan RFP 2-26-2016

Technical Assistance Grant Funds Available for Berkshire County Businesses

July 17, 2015   PITTSFIELD - PERC will continue to accept applications from small businesses within Berkshire County for its Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program.  There is currently funding available and PERC has received additional funding to continue the program.   Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program funds can be used for professional guidance and services of a technical nature, such as financial, architectural, legal, engineering, or specialized business planning services.  The program is targeted at businesses with 20 or fewer employees.  Women, minority, immigrant, low-income, previously unemployed and military veteran business owners are encouraged to apply.   Interested businesses should contact Ann Dobrowolski at (413) 499-9371 or adobrowolski@pittsfieldch.com  for additional information and assistance with the application process.  Program information and the application form are also found on the Loans/Grants drop down menu at www.PERCloans.com.  

Small Business Information Session Planned in Westside Neighborhood

May 20, 2015 PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC) has planned an informational session for people that currently have businesses or are planning to open one located in the Westside Neighborhood of Pittsfield.     The Westside Neighborhood Initiative and the Berkshire County Chapter of the NAACP are offering the “Resources for Small Business” program on Thursday, May 28th at 6:30 p.m.  It will be held in the Community Room at Conte Community School, 200 West Union Street.     The purpose of the session is to give people that are considering starting a business or already own a business in the Westside Neighborhood information about sources of support and guidance in business planning, as well as the process of securing financing.     Small business counselors and resource people will talk about where people can go to find support during the business planning process.  Counselors available at the session will include:   Keith Girouard, Regional Director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network in Pittsfield, will speak on how the center helps entrepreneurs develop business models that work.  In addition to developing specific skills, the center offers assistance with venture feasibility, market research, understanding financing options, cash flow projections and business management.  According to Keith, it's important to "know where you are going so you don't end up somewhere else."   Joe Gelinas, a counselor with SCORE.  Joe and other SCORE counselors have experience in business and they can act as mentors for in-person advice to small business owners.  Joe will talk about how the counselors work with people at various stages of business planning to help businesses start, grow, and be successful.   Steve Fogel, director of Berkshire Enterprises.  Steve will review the many ways he supports people that are already in business or thinking of starting a business, including guidance on business planning and the issues small business owners face.  Berkshire Enterprises also sponsors monthly Breakfast Business Forums where business owners share solutions to common issues they face in their daily operation and decision making.   Mark McKenna, vice president of Lee Bank, has long been active in small business lending.  Mark will speak about necessary steps to prepare for the loan application process, the value of community banks and the lender’s perspective on small business lending.   Ann Dobrowolski, community development specialist with the Pittsfield Department of Community Development and staff to PERC, will give an overview of publicly funded small business programs available to existing or future small business owners.     Additional information may be obtained by contacting Ann W. Dobrowolski at PERC, (413) 499-9371, in the Department of Community Development, 70 Allen Street, Room 205, Pittsfield.  

PERC RENEWS GRANT PROGRAM FOR BERKSHIRE COUNTY BUSINESSES

September 2, 2014   The Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC) has received a another round of funds that will be awarded to businesses in Pittsfield and Berkshire County for technical assistance services, such as financial, architectural, legal, engineering, or specialized business planning services.  The $30,000 grant was awarded to PERC by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.  It marks the eighth round of funding PERC has received for this program.   Jay Anderson, President of PERC commented:  “The program has resulted in meaningful growth by the businesses that have added employees and invested in the expansion of their businesses.  In previous rounds, PERC provided $280,000 in technical assistance grants to 22 businesses that pledged to create 202 jobs and invest more than $22 million.  PERC has played an active role in supporting these businesses, which have had a very positive impact on the regional economy, especially during the regrowth of the economy during the past few years.”   PERC applied for the grant funds again because the program provides a source of funding beyond what is available through cities and towns.  PERC met the eligibility requirements of the grant program because it is a private, non-profit community development corporation.  The funds for the Small Business Assistance Grant Program are provided by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. “Applying for this type of grant program is an example of the valuable role PERC can play in seeking out and securing additional resources and tools to assist business development at the local level,” Anderson noted.   The purpose of the technical assistance grant program is to help small businesses expand, grow, improve their operations and create jobs.  The program is targeted to assist businesses with twenty or fewer employees. People planning to start a business may also apply, if they are within one year of actually starting their business. Women, minority, immigrant, low-income, previously unemployed, and military veteran business owners are encouraged to apply for these funds.   Grant applications are reviewed by the PERC Technical Assistance Committee.  Grant commitments are made by the PERC Board of Directors based on the merit of each project and the eligibility of the applicant for the program.  Program information and eligibility guidelines are located on www.PERCloans.com and may also be obtained by contacting Ann W. Dobrowolski at PERC, (413) 499-9371, in the Department of Community Development, 70 Allen Street, Room 205, Pittsfield.