The BLDC celebrates National Small Business Week 2022

The first week of May is National Small Business Week and the Boston Local Development Corporation Board and staff have a couple of special reasons to celebrate.

Kathleen Kelly receives the Small Business Association Financial Services Champion of the Year award

First, Kathleen Kelly, Webster Bank Senior Vice-President and most recent addition to the BLDC Board of Trustees, has received the Small Business Association Financial Services Champion of the Year award. This prestigious award is given, in the words of SBA District Director Bob Nelson, “annually to an economic development practitioner who goes above and beyond to serve the small business community.”

In describing Kathleen’s contributions, Bob goes on to say that “Kathleen Kelly has been a passionate and tireless mentor for small businesses, contributing both her SBA lending and financial expertise along with critical business acumen to ensure capital is accessible to all, including our most underserved entrepreneurs. Recognition as both the MA and New England Financial Services Champion is a significant testament to her commitment to supporting small businesses region-wide.”

Kathleen earned this recognition as a passionate small business advocate for over two decades. As evidence of this commitment, in 2021, Kathleen closed $20 million in SBA financing at Webster Bank, while maintaining a focus on businesses owned by women, veterans, minorities, and the members of the LGBTQ community.

In response to receiving this well-deserved award, Kathleen said, “I am truly honored to be nominated and to receive this award for the state and region. There is a long list of people who help me be successful including the devoted SBA District office staff, who respond to all my calls despite the volume of calls coming at them and my MSBDC partners, my CDC partners, my SBA closing attorneys, and the team at Webster bank – thank you.” Kathleen has previously been honored as the Coleman’s SBA Business Development Officer Winner for 2019 and as the SBA MA Breakout 7(a) Lender of the Year, also in 2019.

Kathleen will be honored at the annual SBA Massachusetts Small Business Week Awards Breakfast event on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at the Newton Marriott.

BLDC business borrower She is Sofie James is a testament to the resiliency of Boston’s small business community

In this week of celebrating small business owners and those who support them, the BLDC has also received an extremely gratifying testimonial from a BLDC business borrower that illustrates our Board and Staff commitment to small business success. Sarah Shaughnessy, owner, and operator of She is Sofie James, a boutique style hair salon located in South Boston, recently paid off the BLDC loan that she had received just before the onset of COVID-19. Shaughnessy is a testament to the resiliency of Boston’s small business community, as she was able to pay the loan off early.

“I came across the BLDC while googling how to start a small business in Boston. I was impressed with how quickly someone responded after I reached out via the website. Bill was my point of contact and he and Gisella guided me through what turned out to be a seamless loan process,” explained Shaughnessy. “I felt supported and encouraged right away, like this organization was genuinely happy to see me succeed and wholeheartedly believed I could. When Covid hit a few months after my loan closed I, like most every small business owner, was scared and had no idea what was ahead. Bill was in contact with the BLDC community immediately to let us know what financial help we might be eligible for, as well as when and how to apply. Applying for financial aid during this process was incredibly complicated as this was the first time these programs were implemented. Bill kept us abreast of each change and modification. This communication was not only a comfort in a time when nothing was certain, but it also allowed me to acquire aid for business quickly. With this help I was able to build my business and retain all 10 of my employees. Today my business is growing!”