NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A total of $200,000 is going to the Downtown Northampton Association as they launch a new program geared towards helping women and non-binary business owners.

It’s called “The Sphere” and the idea is to build a network for women and non-binary business owners to overcome the barriers that may be placed in front of them. This $200,000 award comes from MassTech’s Stronger Entrepreneur Ecosystems Program.

Megan Allen is a member of the Leadership Team for the Sphere, and she told 22News that the organization is using these funds in a couple of ways. One of which is community dinners every three months where they will be able to network and talk about resources. They’re also looking to create a virtual hub, along with a trail map of women and non-binary owned businesses, and developing a strengths and skills database.

“To see this come out of this, something to support even more business owners, we couldn’t be happier,” expressed Megan Allen, a Member of the Leadership Team of ‘The Sphere.’

Patrick Larkin, The Director of the Innovation Institute with the MassTech Collaborative said if they see success with this program in Northampton, they may look to see how they can replicate it around the state, “I’m really excited to see what kind of results we get, and what kinds of start ups and company activities we see.”

The Sphere just had its first event, which included over a hundred businesses.