For Immediate Release - September 29, 2008

Patrick Administration Launches Small Business Town Hall Meetings

The MA Office of Small Business And Entrepreneurship Holds Meetings Statewide

FALL RIVER - Monday, September 29, 2008. - Today, the MA Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (OSBE) launched its newest initiative, "Small Business Town Hall Meetings." As part of OSBE's commitment to identifying the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in Massachusetts, it held the first in a series of statewide town hall meetings in Fall River.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, there were 178,652 small businesses with fewer than 500 employees in Massachusetts through the end of March 2007. These companies employed over 2.5 million people, roughly 85% of the workforce. The town hall meeting series is just of the many ways the Patrick-Murray Administration is supporting the growth and vitality of this key group of businesses.

"It is essential that small businesses see that Massachusetts is a good place for them to grow and create jobs," said Gregory Bialecki, Undersecretary for Business Development. "The Administration has been working with a number of industry sectors and small businesses across the state to strengthen relationships and let them know that we are here to support their growth."

The Small Business Town Hall meetings will provide forums for small business leaders, community stakeholders and public officials to engage in open discussions. OSBE anticipates these meetings to be productive in identifying areas the state can help small business grow, be competitive and remain strong. OSBE has partnered with several other agencies of the state's Business Development Department to offer an in-depth conversation that will address a range of small business matters.

"The Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship is the state's advocate for small businesses," said André Porter, Executive Director of OSBE. "Our aim is to inform small businesses about the various resources the state and its partners provide because we understand the important role this group of businesses have in keeping our economy strong."

Over the next few months, the Small Business Town Meetings will be held in various municipalities across the state. The OSBE is partnering with local chambers of commerce, community development corporations, small business development centers and other key resource providers to ensure that these forums are successful.

For more information please visit www.mass.gov/dbd/osbe

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The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is one of eight Secretariats that make up the Governor's Cabinet. Under the leadership of Secretary Dan O'Connell, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development oversees the following undersecretariats: the Departments of Business Development, Housing and Community Development, and Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.