Sen. Diana DiZoglio unveiled, what she called, comprehensive new small business legislation Monday in support of “MassMakers.”
The introduction of the MassMakers Act comes on the heels of listening tours DiZoglio has hosted over course of this session to hear the concerns of the small business community in Massachusetts. She serves as chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business.
“The importance of a healthy small business economy to job creation and growth in Massachusetts cannot be overstated,” said DiZoglio. “This bill is the culmination of a year’s worth of dialogue with entrepreneurs, business owners and business and community leaders. They have told us what they need—increased connectivity, streamlined regulation and service delivery, access to knowledge and opportunity and empowerment to succeed. This bill is a big step in the right direction regarding these topics.”
The bill creates a MassMade designation to bolster recognition of those businesses that produce or manufacture within the Commonwealth. In a statement, DiZoglio said, Recognition is the first step in promoting awareness of the beneficial ripple effect that shopping local has throughout Massachusetts cities and towns.
“What I love about this legislation is how it aligns with what is happening in conversations at the local level, both publicly and privately,” said Dougan Sherwood, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. “There are states all over the country coming into our markets to try and take our business. This legislation goes right to the heart of problems impacting us and supporting local businesses when they need it the most.”
Under this bill, Small Business Saturday becomes Friday, Saturday and Sunday to expand awareness and opportunities to shop local over the holidays. Alongside this effort, the Office of Business Development is directed to develop, evaluate and recommend other policies that will encourage keeping consumer dollars close to home.
Another provision in the bill establishes an office of Mass Main Streets to oversee coordination, promotion and revitalization of downtowns and commercial districts by connecting resources across municipal lines. Every state in the U.S. has an office of main streets. “It’s time Massachusetts fills this gap in serving our small business community,” she said.
The MassMakers Act creates a MassMakers Portal, a one-stop shop interactive web portal for aspiring and established businesses in the Commonwealth. Conceptually modeled after the successful Haverhill Business Portal, the goal of the MassMakers Portal is to provide a single-entry pathway from aspiration to realization, whether the dream is to start a new business or to take the next step and scale up an existing business.