This program is committed to equity and inclusion. Women, immigrant, and minority business owners and other applicants from diverse backgrounds and cultures are strongly encouraged to apply. Participants must reside in or represent a business in a low- to moderate-income urban neighborhood in Greater Boston (including Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex, Plymouth and Essex Counties). Applicants must work in a business within the food industry, which includes food processing, technology, manufacturing and food service. Businesses must have earned between $25,000 and $1 million in revenue in the most recent full calendar year. The applicant’s business needs to have been in operation for at least one year as of September 1, 2017 and should have between 1 and 10 full-time employees.
LMI is defined by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) as follows:
- If the Median Family Income of a census tract is less than 50 percent of the Median Family Income for the MSA, then the Income Level is Low
- If the Median Family Income of a census tract is greater than or equal to 50 percent and less than 80 percent of the Median Family Income for the MSA, then the Income Level is Moderate
The application evaluation team will determine whether or not you meet this criteria via the initial application, though you can also check www.ffiec.gov.
The next program will run between January of 2019 thru April 2019. Please refer to the Program Content Page for more information and exact dates.
Food-related businesses were chosen for the pilot program focus due to the diversity, size and number of small businesses within the category. ICIC research shows that when cities have “clusters” of related industries, their economies are associated with greater growth in business numbers, job creation, wages and innovation. The food cluster in Greater Boston is poised for growth and already represents a significant share of employment than exists in other cities.
For the education component of the program, in-person class sessions will meet at Babson College’s Downtown Boston campus near South Station. Free parking will be provided. Online sessions can be accessed remotely and there will also be scheduled site visits across metro Boston to meet and network with peers in the food industry.
It is critical that applicants carefully consider the time commitment required before accepting admission into Cultivate Small Business. All admitted applicants that choose to participate in the program are expected to attend all program sessions, including in-person and online meetings, and finish the entire program. Every consideration will be made to set a program schedule that meets the needs of a small business owner’s schedule.
In addition to committing to the program scheduled, we ask that all participants complete all program pre-assignments, meet regularly with their mentors, serve as supportive and open-minded peers for other business owners in the program, complete creation and initial implementation of their action plans, participate in Cultivate Small Business program evaluation surveys, and refer other business leaders who might benefit from the program to future recruitment efforts.
Small businesses can apply for a spot in the Cultivate Small Business 2019 class via the Apply page. The 2019 class dates are early January thru mid-April and consist of 8 full day classes at Babson’s downtown campus.
Acceptance into the program provides no guarantee of financing opportunities from Santander Bank. Cultivate Small Business is a philanthropic program that has been designed to build the management capacity of early stage small businesses through education, mentoring/networking, and small capital grants. All program participants will have the opportunity to receive small capital grants either during the program or following program completion. That funding will not come directly from Santander, but through program partner CommonWealth Kitchen, a non-profit organization.
During and following successful completion of the program, all participants will be eligible to apply for grant funding up to $10,000. The grants will be provided through CommonWealth Kitchen. The grants will be based on reaching and achieving milestones. You will have an opportunity to apply for a portion of the grant in April 2019 and the rest following 6 months after graduation. This funding will not need to be paid back like a loan, however applicants will need to submit a funding request using principles learned from the program and articulating how the funding will be utilized to improve business performance.
Please send an email to [email protected].