The Baker-Polito Administration announced a total of approximately $2.1 million in awards to nine eligible entities across the Commonwealth to fund 38 projects that seek to strengthen the state’s economy on a regional basis through support for existing small businesses, business growth, and efforts to increase economic activity in local downtowns and main streets.
The Regional Economic Development Organization grant program was established in partnership with the Legislature and is administered by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. The program provides competitive grants that are awarded to applicants based on the ability to successfully support businesses through proposals that account for the varying regional needs of the Commonwealth’s economy. This round builds on a prior round of REDO awards which resulted in an additional $3 million to 11 regional economic development organizations to sustain ongoing efforts to foster economic activity at regional levels, and to support 29 additional projects in support of economic development priorities.
“With the REDO program, our Administration can continue supporting efforts that help drive economic growth based on the needs of each, individual region of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By strengthening the businesses we have now, and by working to attract new businesses to our downtowns and main streets, we can ensure that each region benefits from the increase in economic activity created through the support of this program.”
“By helping regional economic organizations execute on solutions that best address the individual needs and challenges of each of the state’s regions, we can accelerate our progress toward economic recovery,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I want to congratulate the recipients in this round of REDO awards and I look forward to their efforts to help leverage the unique assets that exist in all corners of Massachusetts to help our business community continue to grow and thrive.”
REDO grant recipients’ efforts will focus on a range of initiatives including: an assessment of competitive strengths, weaknesses and opportunities; representing the regional business community in long-range workforce planning efforts to ensure robust skills and talent pipelines that meet regional needs; representing the regional business community in collaborative, long-range workforce skills, transportation and land use planning; promoting regionally significant industry clusters; promoting connections across sectors of the regional economy; maintaining an inventory of key development parcels; marketing their respective regions; and providing assistance to businesses and industrial prospects which may locate in the region.
“The REDO program has been critical to our recovery by providing necessary resources to allow economic development entities to create regionally-tailored economic development initiatives that meet their respective needs,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “In addition, REDO’s flexibility allows us to take a targeted approach to supporting our small businesses, which helps ensure our economic recovery is evenly distributed and statewide.”
Examples of eligible grants include non-construction façade improvement and investments in signage and aesthetic improvements, continuation of pop-up businesses, projects similar to the Shared Street and Spaces Program that support enhanced foot traffic and local commerce, and main street recovery projects with high local impact for small businesses.