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Annual Gateway Cities Leadership Summit

Growing an Inclusive Economy

July 22, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

A decades-long decline in small business formation has slowed economic growth in regional economies throughout the state. Increasing diversity is at the root of this problem. While entrepreneurs of color are starting businesses at high rates, too often they lack access to relationships, capital, and customers to grow their young enterprises.

The pandemic has demonstrated new models for supporting these entrepreneurs. A growing collection of leaders are working to build on the lessons of the past year. Their efforts could provide an especially strong boost to Gateway City economies.

At this year’s summit, we’ll talk with leaders in the field and learn more about how Gateway Cities work together to successfully promote inclusive entrepreneurship.

Register here for this event




Juana Matias COO, MassINC



Keynote Remarks


Daylana Ervin-Parker Director of Budget and Supplier Diversity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts


Data Presentation: Small Business Formation and Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts


Ben Forman Research Director, MassINC and Executive Director, The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute


Panel Discussion: Increasing Access to Relationships, Capital, and Markets


Moderated by Glynn Lloyd Executive Director, Foundation for Business Equity



Katherine Martinez Director of Economic Development, Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC)



Linda Dorcena Forry VP of Diversity, Inclusion & Community, Suffolk Construction



Alexandra Nova Deputy Director, Lawrence Partnership



Audience Input and Question & Answer Session


Moderated by Andre Leroux Transformative TOD Program Consultant, MassINC



Closing Remarks


State Senator Eric Lesser, First Hampden and Hampshire, Chairperson, Gateway City Caucus



State Representative Antonio Cabral, 13th Bristol, Chairperson, Gateway City Caucus


Relevant Resources

A recent report from MassINC and the newly-formed Coalition for an Equitable Economy lays out the needed elements of a plan to strengthen opportunities for entrepreneurs of color post-COVID. The report, Unleashing the Potential of Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts: A Blueprint for Economic Growth and Equitable Recovery, can be read here.


The Coalition for an Equitable Economy partnered with The Boston Foundation’s Boston Indicators to release the second report in this series. The Color of the Capital Gap explores the disparities in access to capital among businesses of color and proposes bold solutions to close the funding gap. Click here to read the report.