Local non-profits helping small businesses receive $80,000 state grants

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Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development Jay Ash came to Springfield to boost small business.

Ash provided $80,000 grants to two local non-profits that help people start and run their own businesses: Valley Ventures Mentors of Springfield, and the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce SPARK program.

During the past several years, Valley Venture Mentors and the SPARK program have been responsible for helping dozens of businesses get started, creating hundred of jobs in the Pioneer Valley.

Ash told 22News, “Frankly, it’s a payment that I have to make for them. Because I talk about them all the time, I think there’s some royalties they’re owed. If we can replicate these two organizations aorund the rest of the state, it would just advance our innovation ecosystem.”

Katie Taccone, who is starting an animation service for businesses, said, “VVM have been incredible for us. We really started with nothing, we started as three creative folks, three co-founders. We kind of learned how to run a business to start from scratch.”

Secretary Ash also took part in an economic roundtable discussion with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, State Senator Eric Lesser and State Representative Jose Tosado.        

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