Chamber Senate Breakfast Looks at Local Opportunities in Era of Amazon.com

Former Sen. Steven A. Baddour, Merrimack Valley Chamber Government Affairs Committee Chairman Cal Williams, Sen. Barry Finegold, Sen. Diana Dizoglio and Chamber President, Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News photograph.)

The challenges facing small, local businesses in the era of Amazon.com was the topic of a forum presented by the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, co-chair of the Community Development and Small Business Committee, promoted her bill, known as the “Act to Support MassMakers,” a multi-pronged plan to stimulate local business by creating an internet portal that would encourage buying and selling between companies located in the Bay State. (See previous story.)

In addition, the bill would require the governor to proclaim the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving as “Local is the New Black Weekend” to help stimulate the local economy during the Christmas shopping season. DiZoglio also gave credit to WHAV for bringing to her attention the need for another category of businesses, microbusinesses.

“WHAV was at our listening session in the city of Haverhill recently, talking about some of the challenges of small businesses but they brought it to our attention that we have this definition of small business and that definition is 500 employees or less and, like I said, thanks to WHAV for bringing this up,” said DiZoglio.

DiZoglio said, under her plan a microbusiness would be defined as one with 25 employees or less and would be eligible for certain benefits such as micro-lending opportunities.

The senator also addressed the problem over-regulation of small businesses in Massachusetts. She said, currently, those regulations are reviewed every 12 years—too long a period to help small businesses. Her bill would, instead, require a review every four years.

Moderated by former Sen. Steven A. Baddour, Sen. Barry Finegold of Andover also spoke. Republican Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr of Gloucester and Sen. Edward J. Kennedy of Lowell were scheduled to speak but did not attend.

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