Meeting Recap: Resources for New and Growing Businesses

MBC members and guests gathered at the Medway Public Library on March 15, 2017 for an event filled with culinary treats, discovery and information vital to small businesses. Located on the lower level of the library, the Cole Room provided a spacious area for networking, noshing and noodling.

MBC member Pangea Cuisines provided a mouth-watering array of healthy and hearty appetizers, which attendees enjoyed while networking.  Fueled with food and new contacts, attendees toured the Makerspace – one of the few in the state. Library Director Margaret Perkins provided an overview of how the Makerspace came to be – with a lot of hard work and the support of town services and volunteers and donations of equipment. She highlighted the two sections of the area – a technology area and a hobby area. The technology area has computers – Macs and PCs, available with CAD (computer-aided design) software – a green screen for videographers and a VHS to DVD converter. The pièce de résistance is a 3-D printer. Ms. Perkins explained some of the projects that library patrons have used the printer for – from creating product prototypes to making toys to printing replacement parts for appliances. Don’t be put off if you don’t know how to use the technology, the library offers classes and volunteers monitor the area to provide assistance. A half-hour class is required to certify users of the 3-D printer. The hobby, or crafting, area has sewing and knitting machines – as well as all the materials you need to stitch up your masterpiece. A soldering iron and other handy tools are also available. There is no charge to use the equipment and no reservations are required.

Ms. Perkins also arranged a display of some of the books the library has on small and home-based businesses for attendees to peruse. In appreciation of the good work the library does and their generosity in hosting the MBC event, the MBC Board voted to make a cash donation to support their contribution to our community.

Our next speakers were Barry Schneier and Amy Huff of Medway Cable Access (MCA), who highlighted the services available to Medway businesses. In particular, they noted the recent interview with MBC member Jennifer Powell of Jennifer Powell Art, a video of which is found on the MCA Facebook page – along with more than a dozen other types of videos. Mr. Schneier invited business owners to contact him or Ms. Huff if they have interest in creating a similar profile for cable viewing as well as for their company’s social media sites. The MCA goal is to promote who’s doing business in Medway and what they’re doing. MCA is funded by Verizon, which allows them to provide these types of services at no cost.

Attendees got an insurance primer, courtesy of MBC member Keefe Insurance Agency in Franklin. Peter Brunelli provided pointers on the types of business insurance required by law and by contract (workers compensation, business use automobile, bonds for contractors, tenants, professional liability). He also reviewed recommended, but not required, types of insurance (property, equipment, business continuation, cyber liability, employment practices liability). Tim Demeritt focused on health, life and disability insurance, which is required to be provided by companies with 50 or more employees. He touched on using life insurance to fund buy/sell agreements and key person plans as well as to provide as an employee benefit. Mr. Demeritt also differentiated between workers compensation and disability coverages.

Heather Johnson of MBC member Charles River Bank provided an introduction to commercial lending. First, she explained the elements that lenders consider when evaluating credit: character, capital, capacity, collateral and conditions. Ms. Johnson then reviewed the information that applicants for credit are expected to provide. After walking through the ways lenders evaluate potential borrowers, she encouraged attendees to, in turn, evaluate potential lenders and she provided a list of questions to consider in their evaluations.

The event ended with tasty giveaways and the consensus that the information presented was helpful as a starting point. The MBC member directory lists local resources for those with further questions or needs regarding insurance and financial services.

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