NU launches program to support local businesses

Northeastern University (NU) is launching a new initiative this spring to help Boston-based businesses grow and compete for contracts from the university and other large institutions.

The “Capacity Building Program” is part of the community benefits package agreed upon by NU and its community Task Force members during the development of NU’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP) in 2013.

“We’re very happy with the community benefits package that Northeastern agreed to with Roxbury, Mission Hill and the Fenway communities,” City Councilor Tito Jackson told the Gazette last week. “The benefits are really the gold standard of what colleges and universities should do in partnering with communities.”

Jackson was a vocal supporter of a strong community benefits package during the IMP development process.

The program will assist small minority- or female-owned businesses across many industries. The types of businesses include: design and construction; facilities maintenance; specialty trades; professional services; furniture/furnishings supply; advertising and marketing design; AV/computer supply and repair; and printing and design services.

NU will partner with Next Street, a Boston-based firm that provides business advice and capital to small urban businesses and nonprofits.

Through this program, Northeastern is planning to deliver a three-part workshop series for up to 18 local businesses in April and May.

According to Jackson, NU has also created a $2.5 million revolving loan fund to support local businesses. The university also made “significant commitments” to purchase from and hiring minority- and women-owned businesses in the City of Boston, he said.

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