LOWELL — Mayor William Samaras on Wednesday was joined by representatives of Lowell’s Economic Development Office and other nonprofit partners as he accepted the 2019 Partner America Small Business Friendly Community Award on behalf of the city.
The ceremony took place at the headquarters of Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) in Lowell’s Wannalancit Mills complex.
“Small Businesses really make up the backbone of this local economy,” said Jeff Bean, director of the Partner America program, “The US Conference of Mayors and the Partner America program would like to recognize the city for all its efforts to make Lowell a small business friendly community.”
The award description reads “Lowell has demonstrated its commitment and support of small business by creating a business friendly environment for businesses to grow and prosper. Your efforts have helped many new entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams and start a business and helped your existing businesses stay and expand in Lowell.”
The award recognized not only the efforts of the city government but also the many community organizations dedicated to supporting local economic development ranging from burgeoning startups to well-established family businesses. This was a theme the mayor touched upon during his remarks.
“Lowell is a city that is blessed with partnerships,” Mayor Samaras noted, “I want to thank the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Partner America program for recognizing our collective commitment to supporting small business in the City of Lowell.”
Other speakers during the morning program included the city’s director of economic development, Andrew Shapiro and EforAll Lowell-Lawrence executive director Lianna Kushi who introduced two entrepreneurs who got their start through EforAll’s accelerator program, Betsy Baez of Bella Divine Beauty and Sharon Drelick of Assemble Lab.
The Mayor’s Office held the event at EforAll’s headquarters to highlight the role of the organization in helping so many small businesses in Lowell get their start. Since its inception in 2010, EforAll has helped support the launch of 349 startups of which 83 percent are still in business.
Representatives of the Lowell Plan, Lowell Financial and Development Corporation, and the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center were also in attendance. The event was catered by Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus, a small business mainstay in Downtown Lowell.
The Partner America Program is a United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) small business initiative to provide Mayors with best practices, information and support to help grow and sustain local businesses. The Partner America committee is Co-Chaired by Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz. More information on the program can be found at www.partneramerica.com.