New Bedford SourceLink: Rethinking the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

NEW BEDFORD, MA – Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) on Monday, December 7 jointly announced the launch of New Bedford SourceLink, a supportive platform that connects maritime, arts and culture, and main street entrepreneurs to a network of local, regional, and national resource partners to foster innovation, growth, and prosperity.

In a press release marking the launch, they explained that beginning in the late spring of last year, the NBEDC committed to developing a “game plan” to better understand the ecosystem of entrepreneurs in the city and the assets available to help them. 

Through a successful application to the National League of Cities to help fund this new initiative – through the Cities Innovation Ecosystem program – the New Bedford Port Authority, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford Creative Consortium, Co-Creative Center, E for All, and Groundwork joined as founding partners to help fund the initiative and better support the individual communities of entrepreneurs they serve. 

“It’s no secret that New Bedford is home to some of the most hard-working and innovative business owners in the nation. It’s a part of our history and identity,” Mayor Mitchell states in the release “This initiative provides another tool for business owners to build, grow, and scale their businesses, which will be especially valuable as we emerge on the other side of the pandemic.”

The project is defined as follows in the press release: New Bedford SourceLink will be a one-stop, collaborative platform to help new and existing New Bedford businesses accelerate their growth by utilizing a network of existing expert service providers called resource partners. Resource partners, which are vetted through New Bedford SourceLink administrators, are organized in the platform in one central search engine, which can be filtered by the user’s needs.

The tool is entirely free to use by business owners and free for resource partners to join and be featured in the platform.

Not-for-profit, government, or educational organizations that serve entrepreneurs and established businesses can join the network by visiting www.joinsourcelink.com/rn/new-bedford/signup. Businesses looking to learn more may visit www.newbedfordsourcelink.com.

Nearly 30 resource partners have already signed up, the release states, to “help New Bedford businesses, New Bedford SourceLink will be able to assist businesses  at a variety of stages to access a wide array of services, including business planning, legal counsel, accessing capital, and navigating the licensing and permitting process.”

Founding partner The New Bedford Port Authority, representing the Port of New Bedford, states “As a founding partner in New Bedford SourceLink, the Port of New Bedford is building upon its identity not only as an economic engine for the region, but as an incubator of meaningful collaboration.”

The City of New Bedford’s Creative Consortium writes, “For #NBCreative, stepping into SourceLink as a founding partner is a natural evolution. Sometimes described as a “silent army,” the city’s artists have achieved national prominence in recent years due to their ability to bring disparate elements of New Bedford and the region together for a common purpose: realizing the potential of this city and all its residents.” 

In addition to its targeted matchmaking between providers and businesses, New Bedford SourceLink will provide guidance for licensing and management of a start-up enterprise, catalog business-focused events across the city, and host a running blog series featuring entrepreneurs across the city. 

Once it is safe to gather again in larger numbers, in-person networking and idea-sharing events will be added to the roster. 

About New Bedford Economic Development Council

 The NBEDC is a nonprofit organization comprised of 250 successful leaders in business, education, and government led by a nine-member Board of Directors. The Executive Director of the NBEDC, with a talented and dedicated team of six professionals, is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the organization’s programs and initiatives.

To cultivate and promote a transparent, credible, and business-friendly environment, the NBEDC works collaboratively with local, state, and federal partners to support creativity, sustainable job growth, and private sector investment benefiting the citizens of New Bedford. 

About SourceLink®

SourceLink provides research and development to help communities strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystems. As the nation’s premier resource for powering entrepreneurs, SourceLink helps build vibrant communities and promotes economic growth by stimulating small business success. SourceLink has successfully engaged with more than 100 communities nationwide, and that number continues to grow. Affiliated networks include Baltimore SourceLink, Colmena66 in Puerto Rico, IASourceLink in Iowa, KCSourceLink in Kansas City, NetWork Kansas, Dallas B.R.A.I.N., and more. SourceLink founders include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, University of Missouri–Kansas City and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Find out more at www.joinsourcelink.com.