NORTHAMPTON — The Massachusetts Center for Employee Ownership (MassCEO) recently launched Keep the Doors Open, a resilience program for businesses in Massachusetts impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program supports businesses facing an unprecedented risk of closure by transitioning them to employee ownership — helping to preserve jobs, build community wealth, and preserve owners’ retirement savings.
One in five Americans have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and the pandemic is expected to exacerbate the silver tsunami, the looming wave of business owners 55 and older facing retirement that currently own 77% of closely held businesses. When faced with the choice to take on more debt or close their doors, business owners that likely would have retired in five to 10 years may instead close in five to 10 weeks. Owners of all ages will also likely close their doors when the Paycheck Protection Program and other forgivable loans and grants dry up.
Keep the Doors Open is designed to prevent businesses from closing or laying off their workers, helping owners secure a fair price and successfully retire without taking on additional debt. The program provides businesses with professional advising and financing assistance, legal and operational support, business tools, and workforce training.
Businesses in any industry in Massachusetts that employ seven or more people are eligible to apply to the program. Businesses in Gateway Cities, historically marginalized neighborhoods, and those owned or staffed by people of color, women, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.
Business owners interested in applying to MassCEO’s Keep the Doors Open Business Resilience Program should submit an application by Monday, June 1. More information is available at www.massceo.org.