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Making a federal case in Peabody

By THOMAS GRILLO

PEABODY— Help is on the way for North Shore entrepreneurs seeking cash to start a business, first-time homebuyers looking for a low-cost mortgage and the unemployed seeking job training.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) will host an Economic Development Federal Resource Forum at Peabody City Hall today. The event will feature senior staff from 13 federal agencies.

“Our mission is to connect constituents with federal resources,” said Jason Denoncourt, economic development director for Moulton and event organizer. “The federal government has lots of resources, but they lack a marketing budget, or people who promote their programs, so we are trying to be a conduit.”

The amount of cash available from these agencies is considerable, Denoncourt said.

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The public will have the opportunity to talk with federal officials who have access to billions of dollars that support thousands of federal programs.

People can learn about federal resources for small business assistance, transportation, housing, technological innovation and more.

“The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program alone has $2 billion worth of grants,” said Denoncourt. The agency’s mission is to encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons.

While the timing may seem odd given the change in administration set for next month, Moulton said the federal staff set to be at the event are career professionals who transcend the occupant of the White House.

“When we organized this event, it looked like Hillary Clinton would be president,” he said. “But these people will be around next year.”

In addition to helping the public, Moulton will have a private meeting with the mayors of Lynn, Peabody, Gloucester, Newburyport, Salem, Beverly and Amesbury and introduce them to the federal staff who can help bring money to their communities.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said she welcomes the chance to learn about more resources for the city.

“I appreciate the opportunity to share ideas and priorities with our partners at the federal level,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Congressman Moulton and his staff have shown a desire to assist the communities in the district in accessing resources that are available to us. This type of direct dialogue can go a long way in making that possible.”

Peabody Mayor Edward  Bettencourt Jr. said the forum is a chance for him to meet with federal officials on issues that affect Peabody.

“I am interested in talking with the Small Business Administration because our focus has been on improving the downtown and attracting new businesses,” he said. “We are always looking for additional ways to take advantage of the resources these agencies offer.”

The federal agencies who will be on hand include the Department of Energy, Economic Development Administration, Department of Labor, Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Small Business Administration/SBIR, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Commercial Service, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration and the Department of Commerce.


Thomas Grillo can be reached @[email protected]

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