GLWIB Member Profile
Merrimack Valley Small Business Center (formerly Lowell Small Business Assistance Center
Stacie, who grew up in Florida, attended Florida Atlantic University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Upon graduating, she was a freelance artist and graphic designer, designing album art, posters, and marketing materials for the arts and hospitality industry. She eventually worked for a design company in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In 2005, Stacie moved to Quincy MA, where she attended UMass-Boston and received a graduate certificate from the Women in Politics and Public Policy program at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies. From there she came to Lowell, graduated from the Regional Economic and Social Development Master's Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Almost immediately after completing her Master’s degree in 2008, Stacie was hired by the Office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas as an Economic Development Representative. She ultimately transitioned to the Small Business Liaison. In this role, she worked closely with constituents on matters of small business; connecting them to resources, helping them to navigate the available federal financial resources, and bringing the small business issues of the region to the Congresswoman’s desk. This role prepared her for her current position as the Director of the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center. Since February 2011, Stacie has overseen the day to day operation of the Center and its strategic direction.
Stacie is very active in the community serving as Vice-Chair on the Cultural Organization of Lowell board and as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Center for Women and Work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In addition to being a member of the GLWIB, she also participates in subcommittees for Lowell Development and Finance Corporation, Massachusetts Community and Banking Council, Massachusetts Small Business Technical Assistance Advisory Council, and Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.
The Merrimack Valley Small Business Center (MVSBC), formerly known as the Lowell Small Business Assistance Center, was established in 1998 through a collaborative effort between Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI), Middlesex Community College, City of Lowell Division of Planning and Development, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
CTI manages the Center, under their Department of Workforce Development. Since its establishment, the Center has provided over 12,000 services to more than 3,000 people interested in starting a small business. The Center has help start 300 businesses in that time.
Today, the Center offers various resources and services to their clients, including:
- Entrepreneurial Training
- One-on-One Counseling
- Business Plan Assistance
- Financing Options Counseling
- Crisis Intervention
- Merrimack Valley Microloan Fund (MVMLF)
- Legal Assistance
- Resource Library
Please visit their website to view the events calendar: http://www.merrimackvalleysmallbusiness.com/index.php/news/events
In 2011, the Center served 235 clients: 52% were women; 71% were low-income; 34% were minority. They were successful in assisting 11 new business start-ups creating 15 jobs. MVSBC staff provided 218 1-on-1 counseling sessions, 25 workshops, enrolled 68 clients in Right-Start training, and provided two clients with loans from their Microloans program. They did all this with three full-time staff members.
Ongoing or Upcoming Projects:
In January of 2012, the Center changed its name from the Lowell Small Business Assistance Center to the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center. The name change reflects the clients they serve, of whom reside throughout the Merrimack Valley, beyond Lowell. With the new name, also comes a great new website: http://www.merrimackvalleysmallbusiness.com/
The MVSBC is now able to provide financial assistance through the Merrimack Valley Microloans Fund program. This program provides microloans to low and moderate-income entrepreneurs in the Merrimack Valley who lack access to conventional credit. The Fund commenced in July 2011, and two clients were awarded loans in the Fall. For more information, please click here.
The MVSBC provides various workshops for its clients. On February 8th and 9th, the Center will be holding a comprehensive two night workshop entitled Unlocking Profitability With Accounting. Also, on February 22nd and 23rd, the Center will host another two night workshop: Building a Successful Business by Defining, Executing & Measuring Performance. This workshop will be facilitated by UMasll Lowell Instructor Michael Salach. You can RSVP for these workshops on the events page: http://www.merrimackvalleysmallbusiness.com/index.php/news/events. Be sure to check that page for other workshops and events.