WORCESTER- The Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE), in conjunction with the law offices of Mirick O’Connell hosted “Capital Solutions for Small Business” on Wednesday at Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester. Charles Grigsby, Interim President of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) was the featured speaker. He was joined by a panel of four others who either provided services for small business or had received services from the MGCC. The speakers were focused on letting local area business know that there are resources available to them and that these resources work.
Grigsby talked about the ways that the MGCC can assist businesses that need capital and stressed three major points. In order to be considered, the company must show that it has sound management, a clear cash flow and that the money loaned will help create local jobs. The number one difference between the MGCC and other sources of capital is the technical assistance that if provides.
“Providing technical assistance is often a prelude to financial assistance” said SBANE President Bob Baker, who was appointed to the MGCC for a five year term by Governor Deval Patrick in 2010.
The MGCC has created a pilot second loan program in Springfield and hopes to launch it state wide if it is successful. The program works with banks to figure out how they can provide loans to businesses that were initially turned down.
Janet Ceddia, President of Security Construction Services in Hudson and Richard Padovano, President of EMX Controls in Uxbridge, both panel members, talked about their positive experiences with the MGCC. Ceddia talked about beginning their search a year in advance and how that capital transformed her company.
“(We were) looking to infuse new capital to be able to say yes to new business and the MGCC helped us pursue an ambitious plan”.
Padovano also had a positive experience, but gained assistance in just six weeks. “They are very much forward looking people,” he deemed the board members of the MGCC.
Also on the panel was Bill Weisman, President of ModuForm in Fitchburg. Moduform is one of only two remaining furniture companies who manufacture products here in the Commonwealth. He imparted this piece of wisdom to all business owners, “Get to know your banker before you need them”.
Mike Ciampa of Delta Consulting in Templeton also talked about the services he can provide to business in financial trouble.
“We can walk into a business and tell if it has a real life or if it’s past its prime, “he said.
He can help businesses realize why they may have previously heard the word “no” and work with them to change that. He helps them develop a forward looking plan to show a sound profit. Sometimes this means creating short term changes and other times it means orderly liquidation. Ciampa prefers working with his clients for long periods of time so outside of the crisis they begin to understand everyday risks.
Grigsby closed out the discussion by answering questions from the crowd about the need for more micro loan providers and how the MGCC balances acting swiftly and aggressively in helping companies while still being fair and tough with tax payer’s money, thanks to flexible policies. This allows them to help prevent companies being acquired and possibly moved to another state.
This was SBANE’s first event in Worcester, and with over 80 people in attendance, was a success.