MV Strong Launches to Help Match Local Business Owners with Free Assistance

Glynn Lloyd, CEO of Mill Cities Community Investments and executive director of the Foundation for Business Equity. (Courtesy photograph.)

MV Strong, a partnership of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Mill Cities Community Investments and Small Business Strong plans to invest $250,000 to help local businesses.

The money comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Using Small Business Strong’s platform for matching small businesses with experienced business advisors and specialists, plans call for providing marketing, legal, operations, finance, PPP Loan forgiveness and federal and state grant assistance. Advisors are available in five languages and paid by the program. More than one-third of advisors are Spanish speaking, helping to ensure Latino businesses are effectively served.

“The small businesses in our region are the backbone of our communities and faced significant adversity throughout the pandemic, especially women and minority-owned business” says Commission Community and Economic Development Planner Nate Robertson. “Through this program, we will ensure our businesses have the tools they need to thrive as we continue to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.”

The program is open to any small business in the 15 communities of the Merrimack Valley, including the cities of Amesbury, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen and Newburyport and towns of Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury and West Newbury. Interested businesses may learn more about the program and sign up at wearemv.com/strong.

“The Merrimack Valley is fortunate to have a diverse small business community and an extensive network of technical assistance providers,” says Commission Executive Director Jerrard Whitten. “With a strong history of collaborative work throughout the region, MVPC is well poised to make good use of our CARES Act funding and launch the MV Strong program in partnership with MCCI, SBS and the 15 communities of the Merrimack Valley.”

Mill Cities Community Investments Executive Director Glynn Lloyd said, “As the region’s only community development financial institution, we have formed strong community-focused partnerships throughout the Merrimack Valley and are well positioned to work directly with small business owners addressing their needs, especially women and minority-owned businesses.”

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