Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies a business as a "small business"?

The Small Business Act states that a small business is "one that is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation." The law also states that the definition will vary from industry to industry.

In general, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the following are considered small businesses:

  • Wholesale trade: 100 employees or less
  • Manufacturing and mining: 500 employees or less
  • Retail/service: $6 million in sales or less
  • General and heavy duty construction: $28.5 million in sales or less
  • Special trade contractors: $12 million in sales or less
  • Agriculture: $0.75 in sales or less

Will the MSBDC write my business plan for me?

While the MSBDC will not write your business plan for you, we will provide the guidance needed to write the plan and can help fine-tune your plan.

Can you help me obtain small business grants?

Unfortunately, for most companies in Massachusetts, there are no small business grants. That is, there are no grants available for start-up costs, operating expenses, or other typical small business expenses for companies that are not "non-profit" or charitable organizations. Most grants are given by foundations or government agencies to provide money for charitable or social purposes and they are typically only given to organizations that have specific "non-profit" status.

However, there are two exceptions for specific grants for which a small business could be eligible. The first is a Small Business Innovative Research grant (SBIR). To qualify for this type of grant, a small business needs to have a unique technology that an agency of the government has an interest in developing through advanced research. This program requires a company to have qualified academic researchers and industry experts on staff.

The second type of grant is a Workforce Training grant. This grant is available to existing small businesses that need to train their workforce in order to better perform their jobs.  It is a fifty-fifty match between funds that the company puts up and funds that are available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

There are other agencies that offer grants as well. For Massachusetts grants, visit www.mass.gov and type "grants " in the search field, then select the quick link for grants and funding.

Can you assist me with my non-profit business?

The MSBDC does not provide services to nonprofit organizations.

What do I need to bring to my first appointment? 

The initial appointment with an SBDC advisor is an intake session.  Expect to spend approximately one hour in the office where your advisor will explain how the SBDC Program works and listen to your needs. If you are seeking assistance with a business acquisition, you will need (3) years of tax returns from the seller. Every client must fill out a Request for Counseling form. You may fill out the form electronically.

View the form

Please print and bring the completed form to the initial appointment.