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April 19, 2024

Worcester earmarks $500K from Polar Park settlement for new diverse business grants

View of a baseball field on the right with fans in stadium seating on the left. photo I Matt Wright Polar Park baseball stadium in Worcester

The City of Worcester is now offering $5,000 grants to women and minority-owned businesses through its newly launched Diverse Business Certification Grant Program. 

The initiative’s funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and $500,000 Worcester received from the 2022 settlement where Gilbane Building of Providence, Rhode Island, and Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis, Indiana, paid the state $1.9 million for misrepresenting its use of women and minority-owned subcontractors during the construction of the $160-million Polar Park baseball stadium in Worcester. 

Local, state, and federal government agencies alike set contracting goals for doing business with minority-owned companies, which is why it is essential for qualifying businesses to achieve certification, said Peter Dunn, Worcester’s chief development officer. The City of Worcester has a goal to source 15% of its contracts from women-owned businesses and 10% from minority-owned businesses. The database of certified businesses is public, said Dunn, which affords listed businesses the opportunity to foster relationships with other companies and consumers who are looking for them.

To qualify for the grants, Worcester-based businesses must obtain an eligible Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office certifications, according to a press release from the City of Worcester on Friday. Qualifying certifications include:

  • Minority-owned businesses
  • Women-owned businesses
  • Veteran-owned businesses
  • Service-disabled veteran-owned businesses
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-owned businesses
  • Disability-owned businesses

Technical assistance workshops for the Diverse Business Certification Grant Program will be provided:

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Monday at Lakeview Ghanaian SDA Church, which is at 233 Mill St.
  • 4 - 5 p.m. on April 26 at Worcester Public Library in the Saxe Room, which is at 3 Salem Square
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m. on April 29 at Main South Business Association at the Main South Community Development Corp. offices, which is at 875 Main St.
  • 10-11 a.m. on May 9 at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center at Clark University – Higgins University Center, Lurie Conference Room, which is at 950 Main St.
  • 6-7 p.m. on May 20 at the Latin American Business Organization, which is at 33 Highland St.
  • Noon to 1 p.m. on May 21 at the WorcLab, which is at 44 Portland St. on the 4th floor

All applying business owners are required to attend a pre-certification webinar. Upcoming webinar sessions are available on: 

  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, April 25
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, May 30 
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 27 
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday, July 25 

Applications can be found here and will be accepted on a rolling basis until 5 p.m. on Nov. 1.

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