2023 Update from the Economic Development Team

In nature, winter is a slower season. Animals hibernate, plants go dormant until warmer days and stronger sun. Even society in general seems to slow down in New England, as the shorter and colder days limit outdoor festivities and drive us toward indoor pursuits (with the notable exception of our incredible ski resorts). For 1Berkshire’s economic development team, however, there’s no hibernating! We’ve been busy, and are happy to have this chance to share some of our recent activities and upcoming opportunities.

In January, we teamed up with Entrepreneurship for All Berkshire County (EforAll), the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation, and the Berkshire Innovation Center to host the Women and Minority-Owned Certification Summit. Nearly 80 people (including some from outside the Berkshires) braved an early morning snowstorm to join us for a morning of networking and learning about the benefits of Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE) certifications, as well as how to pursue those certifications. Thanks to the generous support of Berkshire Bank, attendees enjoyed breakfast from Shire Donuts and lunch from BB’s Hot Spot. This event helped make connections, expand networks, and identify opportunities for assistance for business owners on their paths to certification.

Also in January, we held a community conversation in partnership with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, and Citizens Housing And Planning Association (CHAPA). This discussion, a follow up to the release of the Housing Vision for the Berkshires, focused on the state of the need for more housing, as well as the barriers to housing production in the Berkshires. Most importantly, the meeting focused on the assembled stakeholders and how we have an opportunity to create a coalition supportive of more housing opportunities in the region. Keep an eye out for additional information about how you can get involved in advocating for more housing in the Berkshires.

We also held our January Entrepreneurial Meetup at the Anahata Schoolhouse in Adams. This event featured networking and the opportunity to learn from a practicing entrepreneur (in this case, Anahata Schoolhouse director and kundalini yoga teacher Howard Rosenberg) as well as a relaxing group meditation exercise and “sound of creation” gong sound bath. Entrepreneurial Meetups move around the Berkshires and are open to entrepreneurs from across the spectrum, from those considering opening businesses to those who have been in business for years. They offer attendees a chance to connect, learn about a business, share their challenges and wins, and learn from others’ experiences.

Speaking of Entrepreneurial Meetups, our next event will take place at Hot Plate Brewing Company at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, February 28. Join us at this brand-new brewery in downtown Pittsfield to connect with owners/Entrepreneurial Meetup alums Sarah Real and Mike Dell’Aquila and enjoy a conversation with fellow entrepreneurs over a craft beer. If you can’t make it to the February Meetup, you can join us in March at Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Sheffield, or in April at Canna Provisions in Lee. 

Sticking with the theme of business support, we will be bringing back our successful crowdfunding intensive program GoFundU this spring! GoFundU is an intensive three-week workshop taught by local artist and crowdfunding veteran Laura Christensen that focuses on the major aspects of crowdfunding and how it can help you start, launch, or create resiliency in a business. This workshop will be offered both in person and over Zoom, and individuals who attend at least two full workshops will be eligible for up to two hours of one-on-one crowdfunding technical assistance with Laura. GoFundU is free for all attendees thanks to the support of the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. You can register here.

We’re also thrilled to report that the Small Business Resource Fair will be returning this year. In August 2022, we co-hosted with EforAll the first ever Small Business Resource Fair at the Stationery Factory in Dalton. This event was a resounding success, with over two hundred attendees from entrepreneurs to organizations that provide support to small businesses. Featuring educational panels and opportunities for networking, the positive feedback from attendees was overwhelming, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring it back in 2023. This one is still in the planning stages, so stay tuned for more information about how you can participate!

Lastly, we have continued to hold regular business consultations with entrepreneurs from all different industries and experiences. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for decades, our team is happy to meet with you to discuss any challenges or opportunities you might have and make connections to resources that can be of assistance. These free and confidential consultations are often an on-ramp to local or state programs that can help your business launch or grow. If you’re interested, fill out our intake form here and we’ll get a consultation on the calendar. 

Return to 1Berkshire News. 

2023-02-14T16:03:41-05:00February 14th, 2023|Categories: News|Tags: , |

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