1 Berkshire’s Economic Recovery Program helped the business access over $1 million in capital | Business

DALTON — An initiative that 1Berkshire started two years ago to help the local economy recover from COVID-19 is living up to its name so far.

The Berkshire Economic Recovery Project has supported more than 90 individual businesses over 2 1/2 years, provided technical assistance, created jobs and helped businesses obtain more than $1 million in capital, officials said Thursday at 1Berkshire’s annual meeting.

1 Berkshire’s economic development team also conducted 161 consultations, 44 percent from diverse populations. That support has created 92 new jobs and $2.5 million in investment, said Ben Lamb, the organization’s vice president of economic development.

These two project updates were among several 1Berkshire officials provided at the annual meeting, which recognized the organization’s achievements in 2023. The group also welcomed new members to its board of directors at the meeting, which was held in front of 200 attendees at The stationery factory. 1Berkshire is the county’s state-designated economic development organization.

Direct visitor spending in the Berkshires in fiscal 2022 is up 7 percent from the previous year, according to 1Berkshire President and CEO Jonathan Butler. Continued social media ads and traffic generated 5.3 million impressions and 95,000 clicks to berkshires.org.

The organization’s public relations campaign helped place Berkshire-centric stories in 32 news outlets, including AFAR, The Boston Globe, Forbes, “The Today Show,” Time Out and Travel + Leisure, resulting in 158 million impressions . Overall, 1Berkshire’s marketing programs have resulted in 2 million impressions to berkshires.org and more than 1 million impressions to 1Berkshire’s member lists on the site.

1Berkshire’s social media presence has garnered more than 24 million impressions and more than 1,600 posts highlighting members across 10 channels. The Berkshire Leadership Program graduated 28 leaders in the Class of 2023.

As part of Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, 1Berkshire’s economic development team conducted two site visits with high economic development impact and supported the Creative Campus at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 1Berkshire plans to hold an event next year to mark the fifth anniversary of its 10-year Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 plan. For information on 1Berkshire’s economic development initiatives, contact Lamb at [email protected].

The organization’s hiring platform, known as jobs, posted 304 jobs in fiscal year 2023, which 1Berkshire officials say represent consistent trends with national workforce recruitment. The Berkshire Youth Leadership Program graduated its 13th class in May and welcomed its 14th class to the program in June. Over 360 students have graduated since the program’s inception

The membership approved the Nominating Committee’s recommendation of four new members to the Board of Directors: Christian Hanson of Balderdash Cellars; Scott St. George of Berkshire Health Systems; Dubois Thomas of Blackshires Community Empowerment Foundation; and Ari Zorn of Devine Retail Cannabis. Each of the new directors will serve a three-year term.

1Berkshire members also renewed three-year terms for five current directors: James Birge of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; Jonathan Denmark of MountainOne Insurance Agency Inc.; Margaret Keller of Community Access to the Arts; Scott Kirchner of Mad Macs Inc.; and Christina Winn of Berkshire Community College.

Leaving the board are Gene Dellea of ​​Berkshire Health Systems; Jason Lyon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and Mindy Morin of Canyon Ranch.

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