WomEntrepreneurship and Business New Bedford (WEB New Bedford) grant awarded to area

submitted by the GNB Workforce Investment Board

On February 12, 2018, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash announced Urban Agenda grants for projects across Massachusetts. Included in these awards was a multi-partner effort to help enhance resources for New Bedford women to start and grow their businesses.

WEB New Bedford (the WomEntrepreneurship and Business New Bedford) aligns with the New Bedford 2020 Master Plan as a comprehensive strategy for economic development through business assistance and access to seed funds. The project will recruit 8 participants with a focus on women and minorities living in New Bedford who are interested in starting or have started a business and need assistance growing. Activities include Bristol Community College entrepreneurship courses and support from twelve partners including the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, New Bedford Economic Development Council, Immigrant’s Assistance Center, PACE YouthBuild, United Way of Greater New Bedford, GNB Career Center, EForAll, BCC, CEDC, Groundwork!, and SouthCoast Chamber.

The vision of WEB New Bedford is to capitalize on and aggregate the available local resources and seed funding for long term catalytic growth for women-owned businesses in New Bedford. The goal is to help women start and grow businesses in New Bedford.

A goal of this project is to continue to help start and to grow the number of women owned small businesses in New Bedford and its neighborhoods. The economic benefits from and the number of women owned businesses nationally have continued to increase at higher rates than the national average of entrepreneurial small business firms, with approximately 11.3 million employing nearly 9 million people and fueling the economy with $1.6 trillion of revenues (Source: American Express State of Women Owned Businesses in 2016). WEB New Bedford seeks to capitalize on the national trend and encourage and foster a positive atmosphere for women-owned businesses in New Bedford.

WEB New Bedford will be offered to all women entrepreneurs and/or small business owners in New Bedford. A required pitch at the application phase will assist the team with identifying either potential or current business owners who meet the criteria and would benefit from the project. Participants who successfully complete the eligibility and program requirements may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 in seed funding for their business.

More information on the program including enrollment will be available in March 2018 by visiting the GNBWIB website gnbwib.org/webnewbedford. The program will officially kick off at the SouthCoast Chamber Women’s Forum in May. This project is funded through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) Urban Agenda program.

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Dinner with Governor Charlie Baker

Join the SouthCoast Chamber and Bristol County Chamber for a special cocktail hour and dinner reception with Governor Charlie Baker on April 10th at Whites of Westport. Since taking office, Governor Baker’s major objective has been to make Massachusetts a great place to live, work and raise a family while delivering a customer-service oriented state government that is as hard working as the people of the Commonwealth are. Governor Baker will discuss his current policies and future agenda that will directly influence the SouthCoast as a whole. This exciting event, sponsored by Southcoast Health, will begin at 5:00 pm and include a cocktail hour, dinner and networking opportunities. Individual Tickets are $65 for Chamber members and $75 for non-members. Corporate table sponsorships are also available.

Governor Charlie Baker was inaugurated as the 72nd Governor of Massachusetts on January 8, 2015. Upon taking office, Governor Baker worked to close two budget gaps worth more than $2 billion without raising taxes, while bolstering local aid for our schools and communities, investing in a more reliable public transportation system and prioritizing funds to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic.

Governor Baker has supported robust business sectors by reforming the Commonwealth’s regulatory environment, holding the line on taxes, and advancing efforts to rein in energy costs.

Ensuring Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in education, Governor Baker has invested over $4.6 billion in Chapter 70 education funding — the highest level of local education aid in state history.

Confronted with a devastating opioid and heroin epidemic, Governor Baker’s administration has implemented a plan focused on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery support, including partnering with the legislature on passage of landmark legislation.

Met with a historic snowfall during his first winter in office that halted our beleaguered mass transit system, Governor Baker undertook a major overhaul to fix the MBTA by appointing a Fiscal and Management Control Board to oversee the system’s operations and finances, and prioritize investments in the core system that over one million daily riders depend upon.

Prior to his election, Governor Baker was a highly successful leader of complex business and government organizations, serving as a cabinet secretary to both Governor William Weld and Paul Cellucci, and leading Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as CEO, from the brink of bankruptcy to one of the nation’s highest ranked health care providers.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to connect with Beacon Hill and learn what Governor Baker and his administration have in store for our region. For more information, contact Deven Robitaille, Programs and Events Manager by calling (508) 999- 5231 or REGISTER ONLINE HERE.

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Chamber Welcomes Two Interns for the Spring Semester

The SouthCoast Chamber is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with two college students to provide them with internships for the spring semester. Rebecca Laliberte, Communications Manager at the SouthCoast Chamber said “We are excited to welcome Gwladys and Matthew to our team for the Spring semester. They each bring different skills, which will be refined and strengthened, throughout their internship. We hope to help prepare them for their next step as they prepare to enter the workforce.” We asked Gwladys and Matthew to share a little bit about their background and to reflect on their first few weeks at the Chamber.

My name is Gwladys Ngatchou. I am currently enrolled as a General Study Mass/Trans student at Bristol Community College. Not really sure of my career choice, I decided to intern at SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce this semester to find my “why”. I have just been working here for a couple of weeks now, and I am beginning to love it. During this internship, I aspire to achieve three specific goals. I intend to work with Rebecca, Communication Manager, who will teach me how to write and publish a press release, an advertisement post, and a member spotlight. Deven Robitaille, our Program and Event Manager, and I will be working on how to plan an event. We will specifically focus on planning the “SouthCoast Women’s Forum” event that will take place in May, and I hope to learn a lot from her creative mind. My final goal aims at learning the value of membership and understanding why and how to make a business join the SouthCoast Chamber membership. This will be possible with the help of Ian Abreu, the SouthCoast Manager of Business Development and Public Policy. These goals seem a lot to be achieved considering the time I have to work at the Chamber, but the phenomenal Chamber crew and I will be able to achieve these goals through our hard work, dedication and their experience. This semester being my last, I hope to figure out my next step by the end of this internship.



As a senior at Fitchburg State University studying in the Communications Media field with a concentration in Professional Communications, I am required to do an internship that is 32-40 hours a week for the entire semester. In choosing my internship, my main priority was that it was close to home so I would not have to live on campus, which saved me money this semester. I also wanted something that would allow me to put my skills into practice and be able to learn new ones. So I went online to look for places that fit, the reason I chose the SouthCoast Chamber is because they work with different companies so I would get to do a lot of networking, as well as being able to do different tasks with the different departments including Communications, Membership, and Events and Programs. I thought it was a perfect fit after doing my interview and accepting the position I started on January 22nd and right from the start they had me doing various tasks within the different departments. I have done press releases for the communications department; I have been helping with the preparation of a few different events for the programs and events department. I have also been helping with the annual job fair by making phone calls to see if they wanted to register, and writing two 30-second radio commercials as well as making social media posts. I have made phone calls to members to get accurate information for the annual publication, to companies about being a part of the job fair, etc. Sitting in on the meetings to see the logistics and all of the little details that go into planning the events has been a valuable experience. I hope to continue to grow as a professional in the field and learn new skills as well as enhance the ones I already have.

Gwladys Ngatchou can be reached at [email protected] and Matthew Perez can be reached at [email protected] Employers interested in hosting interns are encouraged to attend the Chamber’s Friday Forum on April 6th, 8:30 am, at the Chamber office, presented by Bristol Community College.

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The Chamber is Pleased to Welcome Ashley Wojtunik as Member Relations Coordinator

The SouthCoast Chamber is pleased to bring Ashley Wojtunik on board as their new Member Relations Coordinator. Ashley comes to the Chamber with great knowledge of the local region. Born and raised in Acushnet, she loves all the history and small-town charm the South Coast has to offer. Ashley serves as a contributing writer for The Standard Times where she covers an array of local interest stories. Ashley also works for Townsquare Media/ Fun 107 on the Street Team and assists with on-location events. Both of these jobs have given Ashley an opportunity to interact with many members of local communities.

Ashley holds an Associate’s degree from Bristol Community College and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, holding a BA in English with a concentration of writing/rhetoric/communications.

Ashley’s primary focus at the Chamber will be membership sales and retention. Her mission is to help other businesses grow and feel like they are part of a community that cares about supporting one another.

One of her various roles will be overseeing the “SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast”. This breakfast networking mixer is new to the Chamber and Ashley is looking forward to further developing this event. She is very interested in becoming involved with other initiatives associated with the Chamber such as the Women’s Forum and the Junior Achievement program.

Rick Kidder, SouthCoast Chamber CEO, said, “We are thrilled to have Ashley join our team. Membership growth and retention, often tied to networking events and programs, is the key to growth in the Chamber world, and Ashley’s sparkling personality and skill set is a perfect match for the Chamber.”

Ashley is excited to learn more about the business community and to serve the Chamber’s members.

Ashley Wojtunik can be reached at 508-999-5231 ext: 108 or by email at [email protected]

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Chamber March Madness!

by Matthew Perez, Intern

March is a busy month here at the chamber with the ten events we have going on. Come take part in the madness and have a great time! Click on the links to register or get more information.

March 2ndFriday Forum, “Tax Relief for agents & Brokers”

          “Tax Relief for Agents & Brokers” is a fast-paced presentation designed specifically for you and your group. Programs run from 30 minutes or until all questions are answered, and participants enjoy discounted pricing for Paul’s tax savings systems.

March 8thState of the City Luncheon

            Each year, the Mayor delivers the State of the City address detailing past accomplishments, goals, planned policies and objectives for the largest city in the region for the coming year. Nearly 500 business, community, media, and political leaders are expected to attend this luncheon program.

March 9thInternational Seafood Buyers Tour

          An annual event held in March to help showcase New Bedford’s waterfront and local seafood plants to international buyers and media participating in the International Boston Seafood Show. This educational tour gives the international buyers an inside look at how 21st-century computer technology and advanced processing equipment is producing a higher quality product than ever and shipping it fast almost anywhere on the planet. The goal is to generate increased and new business for New Bedford’s seafood industry.

March 12thChina Trip Information Session

          Join the SouthCoast Chamber on a once in a lifetime travel experience on an all inclusive trip to China!

March 14thSouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast

          This event provides our members, guests and friends an early-morning opportunity to increase your access to leads, build your book of business, and to encourage the meaningful professional relationships.

March 15thBusiness After Hours, Hampton Inn

          This event provides our members, guests and friends an early-morning opportunity to increase your access to leads, build your book of business, and to encourage the meaningful professional relationships.

March 16thExpand Your Business with Rev. Gail Hicks

          Come and join us for a Friday Forum with a Spiritual Vibe!  Let’s set our intentions our ideas to work in several methods to expand your business and boost your energy to move forward.

March 22ndCEO Unplugged-William Gardner, Alma Del Mar Charter School

        The SCYPN’s CEO Unplugged series is held quarterly and provides young professionals with an opportunity to connect with and learn from successful local CEOs. Aimed to be a source of inspiration and a wealth of knowledge, the CEOs share their personal experiences and journey to success with the participants in an informal, small group setting.

March 29thGood Morning SouthCoast State of the Business Community w/ Secretary Ash

          This edition of Good Morning SouthCoast! will focus on the State of the Business Community.  Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Honorable Jay Ash will be our featured keynote speaker and will discuss housing and community development, job creation, business development, consumer affairs, and business regulation

March 29thBusiness After Hours Bay State Wind and Moby Dick Brewery

                    The Chamber’s Business After Hours provide an opportunity for members and non-members to mingle and build business relationships in an informal, relaxed business setting. These networking mixers are held on a monthly basis in partnership with member businesses and attract business professionals from many industries. The event includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and a raffle prize.


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SouthCoast Chamber China Trip Information Session

by Matthew Perez, Intern

The SouthCoast Chamber will be holding its China trip information session on March 12th at the Waypoint Event Center, (185 MacArthur Dr, New Bedford, MA 02740). The information session will run from 5:30 PM -7:00 PM. This free event will go over all of the details of this once in a lifetime event including; price, everything included in the package, and departure time.

Travel dates for the trip to China are October 27th – November 4th 2018. The cost is $2,399 per person (double occupancy) and includes roundtrip international airfare, Chinese domestic airfare, tax, 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations, 3 meals a day, deluxe bus tours, a fluent English speaking tour guide, and entrance fees for all the attractions. The information session will be an opportunity to learn about this AMAZING once in a lifetime trip.

This nine-day trip will have you exploring all over china including the Great Wall, Forbidden City and much more. You will be able to taste amazing food and hear local music. This unforgettable adventure will enrich your knowledge of Chinese history and is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

The information session is a free event for everyone; non-members are always encouraged to attend. To register go online at www.southcoastchamber.com or call (508) 999-5231.


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1st “SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast” a Hit

By: Ashley Wojtunik, Member Relations Coordinator

The SouthCoast Chamber and Southeastern Massachusetts Business Network are pleased at the success of a new breakfast networking event. On January 18th the 1st “SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast” drew an impressive crowd to Mystic Café, located in Fairhaven.

Rick Kidder and Ian Abreu were thrilled to present this brand new initiative to SouthCoast Chamber members and anyone interested in being a part of the Chamber.

“Anytime we can introduce a new program for members to have maximum member benefits, it’s good for our organization,” said Abreu. “Business professionals may have a hard time attending networking events later on in the day due to business hours and other commitments. The goal of the mixer was to give members and friends a chance to interact at a convenient early morning event.”

Mystic Café proved to be the perfect hosts for the gathering and supplied a variety of delicious breakfast items. Everyone in attendance was able to showcase their business with a “30 second commercial” and detail their main business outline and objectives. Between undergoing ice-breakers and exchanging business cards, attendees were able to create new collaborations with each other.

Whether a business professional is looking to create new relationships, or enhance their business potential, there are many “pro’s” to attending networking events.

Brianna Alves, the SouthCoast Chamber’s tourism, marketing and youth services coordinator, felt the event was very beneficial to those who attended.

“It’s great for members to know more about other businesses,” said Alves. “(The networking event) “helped the business community learn who they have around them” she added.

The next “SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast” will be held Wednesday March 14th at Southcoast Behavioral Health.  Located in Dartmouth on 581 Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, MA, the mixer will run from 8:30-9:30am.

Those planning to attend should come prepared with business cards and be ready to participate in fun and engaging ice-breakers!

If you would like to register for the “SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfast”, or hold one in the future, contact Ashley Wojtunik at 508-999-5231 ex 108 or by email at [email protected].

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Get Involved in ArtWeek!

ArtWeek is calling for Creative Events and we are partnering to spread the word! Applications are now available for unique experiences that are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to arts, culture, and the creative economy.  This year, the award-winning festival is expanding statewide and will be held April 27 – May 6, and is joined by Mass Cultural Council and Mass Office of Travel and Tourism as lead champions. Presented by Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek has worked with all kinds of partners who have offered 1,000+ events to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds since 2013. Curious to learn more? Click here for a FAQ, here for 15 different genre/type “inspiration example” sheets or sign-up for the newsletter. It is free, easy, and inspiring to be part of this innovative festival – so think about how you can help spotlight our Creative Commonwealth! www.artweekMA.org

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Chamber CEO receives NEACCE Chamber Executive of the Year Award

Rick Kidder was selected by a committee of his peers from five states to be awarded the “Chamber Executive of the Year” for New England, 2017.  Kidder has 17 years of experience in Chamber work.  Kidder worked at the Scottsdale Chamber in Arizona for 15 years before joining the SouthCoast Chamber and relocating to his home state of Massachusetts. He is on his third year as President & CEO of the SouthCoast Chamber and has led the organization through a successful re-brand, created new membership benefits and initiatives, strengthened the Chamber’s advocacy efforts and more. In order to receive the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Award, a candidate must show leadership in variety of areas including staff development, collaboration in the community and ability to overcome organization challenges.

Kidder was nominated for the award by the staff at the SouthCoast Chamber.  They wrote the nomination and secured a letter of support from Chair Elect, Kim Perry of Waring-Sullivan Funeral Home.

Kidder said, “The real honor was being nominated by my staff and Board, but to be recognized by one’s peers is extra special. The goal of any CEO of a Chamber is to serve the business community, become an integral part of the area he/she serves and elevate the profile of the Chamber to the benefit of all.”

Kidder was honored at a dinner during the annual NEACCE Conference in Windsor, CT on November 13, 2017.  Over 125 Chamber professionals from around New England were present.

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Job Skills You Forgot to Polish

You’ve got your degree and certifications and are ready to work but still can’t find a job.
Interview after interview you walk away hoping for an offer that never comes. What gives?
Chances are, your soft skills don’t match the hard facts of your resume. Soft skills are in
demand in all industries from construction to accounting, so they are worth a little extra
attention. Read the full document here: Job Skills You Forgot to Polish


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