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Extra Points

Sharing some random thoughts while wondering which Nick Foles will show up for the Eagles on Sunday. • How lucky are we to be living and working in the shadow of Gillette Stadium? The Super Bowl has become like an annual holiday around here, thanks to the Patriot's stranglehold on the AFC. • Of course in addition to bragging rights, their success is good for business. Just look at the recent surge in hotel development along Route 1. Additionally, the extra games played in January provide a boost in business for local restaurants, bars and others that might otherwise be experiencing a slow month after the holidays. Read more »

We’re Hiring - Join us in 2018

We are nearing the end of a very busy and productive year for the Chamber. Back in March our Board of Directors held a planning retreat at which a number of new initiatives were launched and are currently taking shape. Like many of you in your own businesses, we recognized a need to find new and better ways to engage our customers, which in our case is our members. As a result we launched a Women's Leadership Alliance, a Communications Committee and began plans for a Membership Committee. Read more »

Let’s Do Business - Locally

"This year, buy from the people who have your kid's back." I saw this in a blog I read recently about shopping locally during the holiday season. It makes a strong case for supporting local businesses. The people who have your kid's back are the businesses whose name you read on the back of their shirts on the Little League and soccer fields, at the ice hockey rinks, in the gyms and anywhere else our kids may be involved in sports or other activities for that matter. Without local business support, many of these activities either wouldn't exist or would be prohibitively expensive, leaving many kids on the sidelines. Read more »

Meet Your Local Officials

This week's Boston Business Journal had a feature story on Chambers of Commerce in Massachusetts. In it, several Chambers were interviewed and asked how they deal with changing dynamics in the business community. Cited were a variety of external factors such as the rise of online retailers versus traditional brick and mortar storefronts. Social media has opened a variety of opportunities for networking that never existed before. An aging workforce is beginning to challenge the ability of businesses to fill jobs, in particular those requiring technical skills. Read more »

Follow, Like, Share!

A few weeks ago we polled Chamber members to learn what Social Media platforms they found to be the most beneficial to their business. I wish I could share the results with you but unfortunately a glitch in the survey prevented anyone from submitting their answers, so we have no results (insert frowning emoji here). We will fix the problem and try again soon so that we may be able to share this information with you. What we do know is that more and more individuals and businesses are using social media to connect with customer and prospects, to share information about their companies and to generate customer feedback and satisfaction rates. Read more »

Mass. Legislators Take up Paid Leave Bills

Do you know what Paid Family and Medical Leave will do to your business? Earlier this week I participated in a conference call with Chambers, business groups and employers from across the state regarding the Paid Family and Medical Leave Bills being considered on Beacon Hill. The call was hosted by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and shed light on what is contained in the bills and how they would impact Massachusetts businesses. The following information provided by AIM explains the bills. The Senate paid leave bill creates a new Massachusetts law establishing the right for employees, certain state independent contractors providing family childcare, personal care attendants, and self-employed individuals to receive job protected paid family and paid medical leave under certain circumstances. Read more »

Planning Ahead

The Board of Director's of the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce recently spent an afternoon in a facilitated discussion about the state of the organization and its future. It was an exhilarating (seriously) afternoon. The board, along with staff, took a hard look at our current reality as a Chamber. We looked at our membership metrics, our events and programs and our community impact. We looked at the current local business environment. We also looked at the most current trends in Chambers of Commerce nationwide. Read more »

We’re Number One!

You may have heard by now that Massachusetts has been ranked the number one state in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings are based on a number of categories and Massachusetts scored high on many, most notably health care, technology and education. In fact, we also learned yesterday that the state’s high school graduation rate reached an all-time high. Last year 87.5% of high school seniors graduated within 4 years. The good news doesn’t end there of course. We are still basking in the glow of another Super Bowl victory by the Patriots, the Red Sox are favorites to make the World Series this year, the Celtics are in first place and even the Bruins are enjoying a hot streak under their new coach. Life is so good we even have 70 degree days in February! Read more »

What Does the Governor’s $300 Million Employer Health Care Tax Mean to You?

Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker filed his $40.5 billion FY18 state budget proposal and included what is described as a return of the former Fair Share Assessment on employers that was part of the old MA Health Care reform law. However, the Governor’s new version of this health care tax on employers is looking to be much worse than the old $295 per employee assessment. Under the original Fair Share regulation established in 2006, the assessment brought in $7.5 million – as it was not designed to be a revenue generator. The Baker proposal is the opposite, as it is clearly crafted to raise a significant amount of money - $300 million in taxes on employers, payable to the MA Department of Revenue. The new tax is said to be needed to help close a $600 million budget gap in the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth. Read more »

The Original Social Network

One of the things I enjoy about college football’s bowl week is that with so many games on, I rarely have to sit through a commercial. Instead, I just switch to the next game. However, one game this week had no other game to switch to, so I was forced to suffer the ads. One that caught my eye was for a website called Thumbtack. Thumbtack promises that “From house painting to personal training, we bring you the right pros for every project on your list.” You can add them to the unending list of websites and social media platforms that all try to do the same thing – connect you to someone with whom you can do business locally. What a novel idea! Read more »

Are You Finding the Right Talent?

Last summer the Chamber, along with several other employer organizations in Massachusetts, asked its members to participate in a survey on public education and workforce readiness that was a follow-up to a similar survey done in 2013. The results are in and have revealed a large majority of Massachusetts employers (75%) are having trouble finding people to fill open positions and new hires are often not prepared for the workplace. The survey was commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) with support from Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. Read more »

Annual Awards Nominations now Being Accepted

The Chamber's Annual Meeting is on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood. Now is the time to nominate a person or business who you feel deserves recognition for their contributions to the community and the Chamber. Awards are given in the following categories, with last year's winners noted: Read more »

Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion

Moderna Therapeutics Chooses Norwood for Expansion The Town of Norwood scored an economic development victory last week when its Town Meeting unanimously approved a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for Moderna Therapeutics. Moderna is a biopharma company headquartered in Cambridge that is “pioneering the development of a new class of drugs made of messenger RNA (mRNA). This novel drug platform builds on the discovery that modified mRNA can direct the body’s cellular machinery to produce nearly any protein of interest, from native proteins to antibodies and other entirely novel protein constructs that can have therapeutic activity inside and outside of cells.” Their cutting edge approach to generating transformative new medicines has attracted significant investments from other biotech giants like AstraZeneca, Vertex and Merck. Read more »

Chamber Opposes Question 4

Question #4 on the November, 2016 ballot seeks to allow the use, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old. It will allow users up to have 10 ounces of pot in their home, or one ounce on their person. Marijuana could be purchased in buds, edibles, drinkables, oils and ointments, and allows six home-grown plants for anyone over the age of 21, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. The Ballot question also sets up a state marijuana control board and advisory committee to regulate the sales and growth of recreational cannabis. Read more »

Make hay while the sun shines… with the Chamber

The Massachusetts economy is the best in the nation, according to Governing magazine, a periodical for local government leaders. The magazine recently ranked Massachusetts’ economy as the strongest in the nation, based on six criteria: 1. State unemployment rate 2. One-year improvement in the state unemployment rate 3. Per capita state GDP in 2015 4. Percent change in real state GDP, 2014 to 2015 5. Percent change in personal income per capita 6. Year-to-date increase in jobs for 2016 Read more »

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