Gingko Bioworks featured in Boston Globe life sciences industry spotlight

 

Photo courtesy of Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

BLDC-funded Ginkgo Bioworks is planning to go public this year, with a valuation of $15 billion. The company was founded in 2008 by a group of MIT alumni and a professor, Tom Knight. They were interested in building tools to more effectively manipulate DNA. The goal was to insert custom-crafted DNA into living organisms such as yeast or bacteria, to effectively hot-wire them to produce fragrances, chemicals, or key ingredients for animal feed. More recently, biopharma companies, including Moderna, Roche, and Bayer, have come to Ginkgo for its DNA engineering expertise and advanced facilities. Ginkgo added 150 jobs last year — its workforce is now about 500 people — and the company will eventually trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DNA. Ginkgo also will be one of the largest SPAC offerings — the acronym stands for “special purpose acquisition company” — that the life sciences sector has seen.

Read more at bostonglobe.com

BIDFA welcomes Alisa R. Drayton to Board of Directors

The Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority (BIDFA) today announced the appointment of Alisa R. Drayton, JD, MBA, MS, to its Board of Directors. Drayton is a financial services professional with a dynamic background that includes Capital Markets compliance and risk management, middle-market leveraged finance, municipal procurement, and community economic development.

“I would like to congratulate Alisa R. Drayton on her appointment to the BIDFA Board of Directors,” said Bill Nickerson, Executive Director of BIDFA. “We are excited to have Alisa join our Board. Adding her knowledge and experience will help to ensure that the leadership provided by the BIDFA Board of Directors is well informed of the issues and challenges facing Boston's diverse communities.”

BIDFA promotes economic growth and employment in the City of Boston by issuing bonds that finance the capital needs of Boston’s businesses and institutions. The Board of Directors is made up of Boston residents with professional expertise in real estate, finance, and government.

“As the City of Boston evolves with a commitment to equity and inclusion, I enthusiastically welcome this opportunity to leverage my diverse knowledge and skills, and perspective as a second generation native of Roxbury,” said Drayton. “I look forward to supporting capital solutions that aim to stabilize institutions that promote economic development and create employment opportunities throughout the City my sizable family has called home since the 1930s.”


BIDFA announces Mayra Negrón-Roche as new Board Member

The Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority (BIDFA) today announced the appointment of Mayra I. Negrón-Roche, Chief Operating Officer of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) to its Board of Directors. BIDFA promotes economic growth and employment in the City of Boston by issuing bonds that finance the capital needs of Boston’s businesses and institutions. The Board of Directors is made up of Boston residents with professional expertise in real estate development, finance and more.

“I would like to congratulate Mayra Negrón-Roche on her appointment to the BIDFA Board of Directors,” said Bill Nickerson, Executive Director of BIDFA. “We are excited to have Mayra join our Board. Adding her knowledge and experience will help to ensure that the leadership provided by the BIDFA Board of Directors is well informed of the issues and challenges facing Boston's diverse communities.”

IBA is a non-profit community development corporation that was established to prevent displacement by building affordable housing and offering programming to increase economic and social mobility among low-income urban families. Mayra, a resident of Roslindale, became IBA’s Chief Financial Officer in 2004. In the ensuing years, Mayra’s work at IBA has expanded. For the last 8 years, Mayra has served as IBA’s Chief Operating Officer. Through overseeing IBA’s Property Management, Real Estate Development, and Asset Management functions, as well as providing guidance to IBA senior staff and employees, Mayra has established herself as an expert in the fields of real estate development and finance.

"I’m ready and excited to embrace this appointment to the BIDFA Board of Directors and support the capital needs of our businesses and nonprofits, to provide an equitable recovery across each neighborhood in our city," said Mayra I. Negrón-Roche.


Gisella Soriano honored by Amplify Latinx as a Latina Leader

Gisella Soriano, who serves as a Credit Analyst for the Boston Planning & Development Agency and supports both the Boston Local Development Corporation (BLDC) and Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority (BIDFA) has been named a 2021 Latina Leader by Amplify Latinx as part of their Women’s History Month celebration. Ten honorees were celebrated at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 18.

Over the past several years, Gisella has worked to support Boston’s small businesses and expand the agency’s outreach to diverse communities. Congratulations, Gisella!


Brato hiring after receiving CARES Act Loan from BLDC

Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen in Brighton has announced it is hiring for the spring and summer after securing a $76,500 CARES Act loan through the Boston Local Development Corporation (BLDC). Last year, the BLDC received a $693,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to capitalize and administer a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to provide loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Boston.

“After such a challenging year for Boston’s small businesses, especially our local restaurants, it is hopeful news to see Brato hiring again," said Bill Nickerson, General Manager of the BLDC. “The CARES Act funding that BLDC received is helping us support both our small businesses and our local residents looking for work. We will continue to work so that Boston’s businesses can recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and support our neighborhoods.”

Brato is hiring for a variety of positions. For more information visit Brato’s website at bratobk.com.

The Boston Local Development Corporation (BLDC) works to increase employment opportunities for Boston residents by providing small business loans with a focus on commercial, industrial, and service companies. Over the last twenty years, the BLDC has provided over $20 million in small business loans. These loans have successfully leveraged over $95 million through collaborations with Boston’s banking community. The loan funds have helped to create or retain over 3,500 Boston jobs. BLDC loans can be used to support the working capital needs of a growing small business, assist in the purchase of a new business property, fund construction of leasehold improvements, purchase new equipment and machinery, construct an addition to an existing plant, and provide for expanded inventories. The BLDC coordinates with Boston’s banking community to provide gap financing through subordinated debt.


The BLDC honors Black History Month 2021 with City Fresh Foods

The Boston Local Development Corporation (BLDC) would like to highlight the powerful contributions one minority owned business is making to improve the lives of all Bostonians.

Born out of a need for access to fresh foods in urban areas, City Fresh is the brainchild of Glynn Lloyd. What started out as a market outside Franklin Park in the 90s, has evolved into a state-of-the art 14,000 square foot facility that provides home-style nutritious meals. During the current crisis, their mission is now more critical than ever.

The BLDC is proud to have been able to assist with a small business loan to City Fresh when Glynn Lloyd had just launched in 1994 out of a kitchen in Roxbury.

As City Fresh Foods continued to grow, Glynn was joined by his brother Sheldon in 1996, who is now the CEO. City Fresh Foods has now become a staple in the Boston food service community and has worked to address food insecurity throughout the City by delivering nutritious, delicious and ethnically diverse foods. Their mission has always been to bring healthy food to communities whose needs have often been ignored.

City Fresh’s menu is fueled by and reflects the diverse makeup of its employees and the community in which it operates. The team specializes in bringing meals to children, the elderly and their families. They reach these groups through servicing schools, child care and adult care programs, while also providing home delivery services for the elderly. This business model is what has led their team to be a critical support for economically vulnerable populations, especially during today’s COVID-19 crisis.

City Fresh Foods has also started a program with the YMCA of Greater Boston to provide emergency feeding at dozens of sites around the Boston area, at local YMCA’s but also other places like Prince Hall Grand Lodge and The Freedom House in Grove Hall. Since the pandemic start, the company has increased meal and delivery production to up to 20,000 meals a day.

On this past Juneteenth, on what could not have been a more appropriate date, City Fresh Foods was able to announce that it had succeeded in buying out its shareholders and had finally become a fully minority-owned company! Glynn and Sheldon Lloyd then finally had full ownership of City Fresh Foods. They didn’t stop there.

The dream of the Founders has, for years, been the idea that City Fresh Foods would one day be a community-operated, managed and owned company. In December 2020, that dream would become reality when City Fresh Foods was able to introduce an Employee Stock Purchase Program (ESPP). Employees were able to buy in and now, in addition to Glynn and Sheldon, there are 34 employee owners of City Fresh Foods; thirty-one of whom are People of Color.

Glynn left the day-to-day operations at City Fresh Foods in 2015 and now serves as Executive Director of the Foundation for Business Equity. The Foundation for Business Equity was created to help address the widening income and wealth gap in Greater Boston, experience most acutely by Black and Latinx communities.

Now producing up to 20,000 meals a day, the company has always maintained its roots in the local community. Ninety-five percent of City Fresh’s clients are in Boston, and the majority of its 150 employees are Boston residents, with many calling Roxbury and Dorchester their home.

Sheldon recently told the BLDC “Part of our next chapter is creating a model for employee ownership, creating equity and wealth, for those typically excluded from such opportunities that helped us build the company. A majority are of color and Boston residents and BLDC is part of the village that helped get us here by providing our first loan of the 27-year journey.”

The BLDC has always recognized that financing for minority owned businesses like City Fresh Foods has been both a struggle and a hindrance to growing wealth within Boston’s predominately Black and Brown neighborhoods. The BLDC is a 501(c)3 staffed by BPDA employees and has been lending to Boston’s small business community since 1982. The BLDC has always demonstrated a commitment to lending to these historically disinvested businesses. Sixty-three percent of existing privately owned BLDC Borrowers are Minority, Immigrant and/or Woman Owned Businesses. More specifically, twenty-five percent are Black Owned Businesses.

The BLDC is under the direction of a Board of Trustees. Seventy-five percent of the Board Members are women, immigrants, and/or representatives of minority groups. Sixty-three percent of the Board are members of minority groups. The composition of the BLDC Board has always helped to ensure that the choices the BLDC Staff makes when reaching out to disproportionately affected communities are informed and impactful.

Under the direction of this diverse Board of Trustees, the BLDC has historically demonstrated tremendous success in lending to a diverse community. While the charter of the BLDC describes its purpose as creating jobs for Boston’s residents, attention to supporting the expansion of the City’s minority owned business community has always been an important component of the BLDC program. For more information on the BLDC program, please go to our website at bostonbusinessloans.org/bldc. You can also follow us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/bldc. We regularly provide updates on our program and any other information that might be helpful to Boston’s Small Businesses.


Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen teams up with Flour Bakery for Stout and Pastry Tasting Kit Night

After passage of the initial Federal CARES Act, the BLDC requested and received a grant of $693,000 from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant allowed the BLDC to create a new loan fund that provides financing to Boston businesses that are suffering from the severe economic disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen, a current BLDC loan borrower, is one of the first Boston businesses to receive financing through this new fund. This additional financing will help Brato Brewhouse make it through the winter months. Brato Brewhouse is a brewery and restaurant with a full kitchen located on North Beacon Street in the city’s Allston neighborhood. Throughout the pandemic, Brato has been utilizing their ample outdoor and indoor space to follow social distance regulations and keep their customers and staff safe without sacrificing the quality of the dining experience. Brato's creativity and initiative has been a key to the restaurant’s continued success. Brato has created 25 jobs with a starting wage of at least $15 an hour. 11 of these positions are filled by Boston residents. The owners have established themselves as good corporate citizens who hope to continue fostering a healthy community while providing their patrons great food and beer.

Brato is teaming up with Flour Bakery to bring you a box of pastries to pair with their new stout, “Darkest Before Dawn”. Everyone will get a simple reheat and serve dinner, along with a box of four pastries from Flour to be able to pair with two growlers of stout. This special menu offering is an awesome example of both the owners’ creativity and the yummy food that they provide.

Learn more

BLDC-funded fitness studio Row House featured in Wall Street Journal

“We didn’t plan on being outdoors beyond Nov. 15, but people asked us to,” said Gyee O’Malley, co-owner of Boston’s Row House, a rowing-themed fitness studio. She and her staff roll 15 ERG machines and a stereo system to a patio on Lovejoy Wharf for each session. Classes have happened with the temperature as low as 28 degrees.

The studio moved some classes indoors when restrictions eased in the fall, but many members said they weren’t comfortable going back inside, she says. In mid-December, Boston banned indoor classes, and Ms. O’Malley reverted to an all-outdoors schedule. “My new motto is, ‘If you keep showing up, we’ll keep showing up,’ ” she says.

Winter fitness warriors have always powered through frigid weather. But to survive, gyms need to attract more than just the die-hards. They need to convince less enthusiastic customers, the casual exercisers who would happily stay home.

Full article at wsj.com

She is Sofie James

The BLDC gave Ginkgo Bioworks their first financing as a startup—a $150,000 loan. Today the organism company, which designs custom microbes for customers across multiple markets, is worth over $1 billion.

The company’s organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies and government entities to design microbes for their needs—applications including nutrition, health and consumer goods.


Marvelous Barber Lounge

The BLDC gave Ginkgo Bioworks their first financing as a startup—a $150,000 loan. Today the organism company, which designs custom microbes for customers across multiple markets, is worth over $1 billion.

The company’s organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies and government entities to design microbes for their needs—applications including nutrition, health and consumer goods.