For Immediate Release - April 12, 2012

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $600,000 IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT BROADBAND FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND NON-PROFITS

New Bedford – Thursday, April 12, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined federal, state and local officials at the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts to announce four grant awards from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute totaling $600,000 to enhance broadband adoption and support for small businesses and non-profit organizations across the Commonwealth.   

The $600,000 in federal funding, supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will be distributed to four Community Development Corporations, each receiving $150,000 to provide technical assistance and resources for 40 small businesses and non-profit organizations in regions throughout Massachusetts. In addition to the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts, the funding is also being awarded to the Dorchester Bay Community Development Corporation, Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation and the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation in Ware. 

“Providing connectivity to small businesses is vital to our economic recovery,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We are working hard with the Obama Administration and our Congressional partners to connect businesses with broadband and other critical technologies to position Massachusetts for future growth and prosperity.”  

“Our Administration continues to build public-private partnerships to support job creation and economic development in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “We thank the Obama Administration, our Congressional Delegation and the awarded Community Development Corporations as we work with small businesses across the state to address their business needs, including access to broadband and other infrastructure, and foster regional economic growth across the Commonwealth.”

As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s ongoing efforts to expand broadband access across the Commonwealth, the Administration is leveraging $83.5 million in ARRA funding for related broadband infrastructure and improvement initiatives, including today’s grant awards to further broadband adoption and spur economic growth throughout the state. 

“I’m pleased that the federal government is recognizing the great work done by the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts, and that the impact of the stimulus package enacted in 2009 is still being felt to the benefit of small businesses in Southeastern Massachusetts,” said U.S. Congressman Barney Frank.

Today’s announced funding was initially awarded to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Initiative Program. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is economic development agency charged with catalyzing innovation and expanding technology-related enterprises throughout the Commonwealth.

Of the $150,000 each Community Development Corporation will receive, the organizations will utilize $60,000 to provide technical training and support to small businesses and non-profit organizations in their service area for two years, and $90,000 to help small businesses purchase computers, software, broadband access and implement long-term strategic and sustainability planning. As part of the grant, each Community Development Corporation and small business will provide 25 percent in matching funds.

“Enhancing the growth and competitiveness of small businesses is vital to our state’s innovation economy,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Broadband and the resulting connectedness will enable businesses to compete and thrive in today’s rapidly growing global marketplace.” 

The MBI, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is working to expand affordable, quality broadband access throughout the Commonwealth. MBI initiatives include the MassBroadband 123 fiber-optic network, which will extend broadband connectivity to more than 120 communities in western and north central Massachusetts. Construction for MassBroadband 123 is ongoing and will be completed by June 2013. 

“As we work to expand broadband connectivity across the Commonwealth, we kept hearing from many small businesses that lacked the necessary technical resources,” said MBI Director Judith Dumont. “Providing broadband access, training and other digital technologies will help our small businesses to grow and provide new economic opportunities throughout Massachusetts.” 

“We look forward to helping our small businesses with access to the proper technical training and resources,” said Joe Kriesberg, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations. “We thank Governor Patrick and his Administration for these funds that will support the growth of small businesses and job creation in the Commonwealth.” 

"Technology skills and broadband connectivity are critical to the growth and development of neighborhood small businesses,” said Corinn Williams, executive director of the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. “Many of the businesses we work with are still very much part of the ‘digital divide.’ This grant has great potential to help these businesses grow by finding new customers and markets.” 

To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s broadband initiatives, visit www.massbroadband.org

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