Worcester, Massachusetts

Postwar planners in Worcester, Massachusetts, turned up the fact that not one of the many large business enterprises in Worcester started with a capital of more than $25,000. Some of them now have branches outside the United States, but they started small and grew big on the strength of their own efforts.

Accordingly, when the local employment surveys showed that Worcester might have a chronic postwar deficit of 9,000 to 12,000 jobs, the logical place to lookfor these needed jobs seemed to be among the community’s 300 concerns employing 50 people or less. If these little businesses could be helped to grow from small beginnings as the neigh-boring big businesses had already done, their growth would solve the local problem of potential unemployment.

To put some action behind this line of reasoning the Chamber of Commerce reorganized its Industrial Bureau to aid the expansion of local enterprise by:

  1. Providing production, accounting, and sales engineering counsel to small industries.
  2. Helping arrange financial credits, through existing institutions, to small enterprises which show sound prospects.
  3. Assisting the development of foreign trade through skilled counsel and in-the-field services.

To put this program into effect the Industrial Bureau will include on its staff the following experts with experience in the special problems of small business:

  1. A specialist in accounting and production problems, and
  2. a specialist in product engineering and sales. These two experts will advise small businessmen on their problems of management, production, merchandising, and in determining credit and capital needs. They will also help them obtain whatever types of outside credit, services, materials, or personnel are found to be needed.
  3. A competent foreign-trade expert who will counsel local businesses on export problems and will travel part time in foreign countries seeking out new markets for Worcester industries.
  4. A domestic field representative who will locate new markets for Worcester products within the United States.

The work of these staff members of the Industrial Bureau will be filled out by such general services as:

  1. Development of local inventions by helping to determine which ones are of practical value and giving patenting and production assistance, either through established companies or new organizations.
  2. Advertising and promotion services. For instance, advertising will stress Worcester’s central geographical position in New England as an ideal branch warehouse and distribution point. The prestige of its products will be built up by promoting its reputation for skilled labor, high-quality standards, and progressive business principles.
  3. Local businessmen will be generally aided by the Industrial Bureau through regular information services. These will include surveys of markets, labor supplies, utility services, real-estate sales, rentals, available industrial sites, new sources of. materials, available research services, etc.

In general, the Worcester Industrial Bureau will seek to provide its small businessmen with those types of professional services and business information which are not readily obtainable through their own limited staffs and resources. The Bureau will be equipped equally well to help a manufacturer market safety pins in Guatemala or locate a reliable sales agent to cover the Corn Belt; to find in Worcester a new plant with a railroad siding, or to secure war-house space in an Oriental free port.