FY21 Build to Scale EDA Program Offers Capital & Venture Challenges

3.3.2021

 

Staff Contribution
 

The EDA’s FY21 Build to Scale program is now live with $38M in total funding available to build regional economies through scalable startups. Under this program, the EDA is soliciting applications for two separate competitions: Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge.
 
– The FY21 Venture Challenge seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or combinations of regions.
 
– The FY21 Capital Challenge seeks to increase access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply.
 
The EDA application deadline for the challenges is 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, April 29, 2021. To view full application details, please click here.
 
The EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Build to Scale (B2S) Program. Under this program, the EDA manages a portfolio of grant competitions that further technology-based economic development initiatives that accelerate high-quality job growth, create more economic opportunities, and support the future of the next generation of industry-leading companies.
 
New Bedford SourceLink
As a reminder, if you’re a local entrepreneur or small business with new ideas—additional resources and support to foster your growth are available through our newest initiative, New Bedford SourceLink!
 
New Bedford SourceLink was developed as a supportive platform to connect maritime, arts+culture, and main street entrepreneurs to a network of local, regional, and national resource partners to foster innovation, growth, and prosperity. Get started by tapping into the Resource Navigator to begin making connections, and building your concept here in New Bedford.

MA COVID-19 Innovation Challenge: Six-Week Business Accelerator — Apply Today!

1.19.2021

 

Staff Contribution
 
The MassTech Collaborative has recently announced its next accelerator program in its series of Innovation Challenges aimed at identifying and growing innovative technologies inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Entrepreneurs developing connective technologies with the potential to spark economic recovery and strengthen resiliency in the flow of goods, services, and information are highly encouraged to apply for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Innovation Challenge.
 
The first place winner will receive $40,000, and the second place winner will receive $10,000. Application deadline is Friday, February 19.
 
Questions regarding the accelerator may be directed to Megan Marszalek (marszalek@masstech.org).
 
As a reminder, if you’re a local entrepreneur or small business with new ideas—additional resources and support to foster your growth are available through our newest initiative, New Bedford SourceLink!
 
New Bedford SourceLink was developed as a supportive platform to connect maritime, arts+culture, and main street entrepreneurs to a network of local, regional, and national resource partners to foster innovation, growth, and prosperity. Get started by tapping into the Resource Navigator to begin making connections, and building your concept here in New Bedford.

Press release: Mayor Mitchell Announces New Bedford SourceLink as New Resource for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

12.9.2020

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New Bedford, MA–Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) announce the launch of New Bedford SourceLink, a supportive platform that connects maritime, arts and culture, and main street entrepreneurs to a network of local, regional, and national resource partners to foster innovation, growth, and prosperity.
 
Beginning in the late spring of last year, the NBEDC committed to developing a “game plan” to better understand the ecosystem of entrepreneurs in the city and the assets available to help them. Through a successful application to the National League of Cities to help fund this work through their Cities Innovation Ecosystem program, the New Bedford Port Authority, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford Creative Consortium, Co-Creative Center, E for All, and Groundwork joined as founding partners to help fund the initiative and better support the individual communities of entrepreneurs they serve.
 
“It’s no secret that New Bedford is home to some of the most hard-working and innovative business owners in the nation. It’s a part of our history and identity,” said Mayor Mitchell. “This initiative provides another tool for business owners to build, grow, and scale their businesses, which will be especially valuable as we emerge on the other side of the pandemic.”
 
New Bedford SourceLink will be a one-stop, collaborative platform to help new and existing New Bedford businesses accelerate their growth by utilizing a network of existing expert service providers called resource partners. Resource partners, which are vetted through New Bedford SourceLink administrators, are organized in the platform in one central search engine, which can be filtered by the user’s needs.
 
With nearly 30 resource partners already signed up to help New Bedford businesses, New Bedford SourceLink will be able to assist businesses at a variety of stages to access a wide array of services, including business planning, legal counsel, accessing capital, and navigating the licensing and permitting process.
 
“The NBEDC is always on the cutting edge in support of growing our local economy. EforAll South Coast is delighted to be a founding partner of New Bedford Sourcelink, which will help entrepreneurs to access all of the resources available in one website. I look forward to the referrals to our Accelerator programs coming from this partnership as well as the ongoing support entrepreneurs will be able to access,” said Donna Criscuolo, Executive Director, Entrepreneurship For All South Coast.
 
The platform is powered by SourceLink, a national leader in entrepreneurial ecosystems.
“We are excited to be supporting the launch of New Bedford SourceLink. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the collaborative leadership team and have no doubt that New Bedford SourceLink will quickly become a leader among our national network,” said Rob Williams, Director of SourceLink.
 
To date, SourceLink has helped more than 100 communities nationwide, from Seattle to San Juan, build an infrastructure that sparks, supports, and sustains entrepreneurship and innovation. In every community, the first step is to define the available resources and make them visible. That mapping then allows service organizations to address their entrepreneurs’ specific needs, make and track referrals to resources, and identify and fill gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
 
“Our small and medium-sized businesses are really the heartbeat and soul of New Bedford,” said Tony Sapienza, President of NBEDC. “We’re excited to be able to offer New Bedford SourceLink as a most excellent resource to accelerate growth, build partnerships, and bring new ideas and businesses to the table as we eagerly look to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.”
 
In addition to its targeted matchmaking between providers and businesses, New Bedford SourceLink will provide guidance for licensing and management of a start-up enterprise, catalog business-focused events across the city, and host a running blog series featuring entrepreneurs across the city. Once it is safe to gather again in larger numbers, in-person networking and idea-sharing events will be added to the roster. The tool is entirely free to use by business owners and free for resource partners to join and be featured in the platform.
 
Not-for-profit, government, or educational organizations that serve entrepreneurs and established businesses can join the network by visiting https://www.joinsourcelink.com/rn/new-bedford/signup. Businesses looking to learn more may visit www.newbedfordsourcelink.com.
 
 
About SourceLink®

SourceLink provides research and development to help communities strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystems. As the nation’s premier resource for powering entrepreneurs, SourceLink helps build vibrant communities and promotes economic growth by stimulating small business success. SourceLink has successfully engaged with more than 100 communities nationwide, and that number continues to grow. Affiliated networks include Baltimore SourceLink, Colmena66 in Puerto Rico, IASourceLink in Iowa, KCSourceLink in Kansas City, NetWork Kansas, Dallas B.R.A.I.N., and more. SourceLink founders include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, University of Missouri–Kansas City and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Find out more at www.joinsourcelink.com.

SoCoECo Presents: How to Get Funding in a Pandemic Webinar, 5:30PM Today

12.8.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

We hope you’re beginning to get in the holiday spirit! If you’re an entrepreneur or small business, we’d like to let you know that South Coast Entrepreneurs Collaborative (SoCoECo) will be hosting an informational webinar this evening about gaining funding.
 
It’s no secret that securing early-stage investment capital is difficult even during the best of times. Without much of the normal face-to-face interaction that precedes a formal pitch, developing the trust necessary to both make the ask (for founders) and make the investment (for funders), has been challenging.
 
In the program, two early-stage tech companies will share their best practices and insight into how they overcame these hurdles to get funded during the pandemic.
 
To register, please click here.

Round 6 LISC Small Business Relief Grants

09.05.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the country’s largest social enterprises supporting projects and programs to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents, is providing grants to small businesses to help them keep functioning and remain vital facets of their local economies at this difficult time.
 
These grants are designed to support small businesses and enterprises across the country that have been affected by COVID-19, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses, and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.
 
Applications will be reviewed based on criteria designed to prioritize particularly challenged businesses, and the final grantees will be randomly selected from the top scoring applicants.
 
The deadline for submissions is this Monday, September 7 at 11:59pm ET.
 
For more information and to apply, please click here.

EforAll SouthCoast June accelerator program attracts participants

 

NEW BEDFORD — Even though most businesses are facing a tough time right now, local entrepreneurs still want to participate in Entrepreneurship for All’s (EforAll) Business Accelerator Program that starts in June, according to Donna Criscuolo, executive director of EforAll South Coast.

 

 

Criscuolo said the nonprofit reached out to the program’s applicants after the coronavirus began to hit the area to see if they wanted to move forward with their application, and they did.

 

 

“People feel like now is the time to get the education that they need to start a business,” Criscuolo said, “They are feeling empowered about taking control of their destiny and future in terms of creating a business.”

 

 

Criscuolo called the decision to move forward with the program a testament to the heart and soul of an entrepreneur — regardless of the situation they move forward and pivot.

 

 

“We typically work with early stage entrepreneurs, but we do work with people that have been in business and are wondering how to get to the next level,” Criscuolo said.

 

Original story here.

 

Groundwork celebrates 5 years with expansion plans in New Bedford, Fall River

Posted Nov 16, 2019 at 8:00 AM. Updated Nov 17, 2019 at 11:16 AM

Groundwork is about the unique inspiration and creative synergy that comes from bringing people together.

You may be used to the traditional idea of an office: rows of desks of cubicles with company employees banging away at a keyboard.

But in the 21st century economy, “the office” for many means their kitchen table or couch or a table at a nearby coffee shop where the Wi-Fi is free.

But some of the workers are eager for some fresh air and fresh ideas. Not to mention some social interaction.

In its fifth year, Groundwork is creating a community within the community with a concept known as coworking, which has taken off across the country as more people work remotely or from home.

Groundwork has experienced enough success so that they are making plans to expand their New Bedford office and open another in Fall River in the coming year.

“Groundwork is a community-oriented environment of collaboration,” said Donna Criscuolo, executive director at EforAll, a local non-profit agency that has held a membership at Groundwork for four years and has played an important role in its development.

“It goes beyond just getting work done, you’re around other people exchanging ideas and socializing as well. It’s friendly, upbeat, and there’s good energy. There’s always something going on that’s meaningful.”

Coworking could benefit businesses from the interaction of its members along with the opportunities to socialize and start friendships, officials say. It can be a receptive and comfortable approach to networking into which entrepreneurs can immerse themselves.

“We strive to create a welcoming feel,” said Groundwork owner and co-founder Sarah Athanas. “You don’t feel that you’re in a stuffy office with cubicles and dropped ceilings — you just show up with your laptop. Everything’s here for you that you would want in an office and more.”

The New Bedford expansion will see Groundwork add more private offices with an announcement expected soon on the details surrounding that plan, Athanas said. “Our Fall River expansion will be part of the Creative Class project, a mixed-use development that will include residential units as well as coworking and other commercial space,” she said. “That is currently slated for the end of 2020.”

Groundwork provides members with free Wi-Fi, printer access and bottomless coffee, tea and snacks. There are “phone booths” for those people who want privacy for their phone calls.

In addition to traditional tables and chairs, there is a kitchen area as well as an art gallery featuring the work of local artists. There is a new opening at the gallery every month or two and the public is invited to attend the openings. Yoga classes are held each Wednesday.

Depending on your membership, you may have 24/7 access to the facility, with opportunities to use any of the three meeting rooms. They also offer private offices, a locking file cabinet and a personal desk via tiered membership plans.

There are also “soft seats” and tables for relaxation and conversation.

Located in the Quest Center building at 1213 Purchase St., the space boasts 6,000 square feet. It is spacious, well lit, polished clean with high ceilings that serve to create an open, airy environment.

“It’s a unique, beautiful space with a great vibe,” said Ed Craven, a regional marketer with the bookkeeping company Supporting Strategies. He has been with Groundwork for two years.

Groundwork currently has 85 members working in an array of industries. Clientele include a variety of professions in fields such as education, design, web developing, software and app development, real estate, legal work, accounting and financial planning. There are also consultants including one person in the spirits industry working with a vodka brand.

The organization also hosts a number of local non-profit companies. In addition to EforAll they work with Civic Support, Gnome Surf, Leadership SouthCoast, Southeastern Mass Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP), South Coast LGBTQ Network and the New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program.

Athanas said some companies will pay for employees’ coworking memberships.

“Large organizations will pay for people to do coworking because they see it making them more productive,” she said. “A lot of companies think that it’s a perk that helps with retention — employees are more likely to stay if they’re benefiting from being able to come into a fun environment.”

In an effort to bring people together, Groundwork hosts frequent events for both its members and the public. Athanas employs a time-tested approach to social interaction – food.

Some of Groundwork’s events include a trail mix social every Tuesday afternoon.

Athanas said “it’s very basic, but it gives people an opportunity to wander over from their desk and chat and interact.”

Each November during the week before Thanksgiving, Groundwork kicks off the holiday season with a pie contest. “We eat a ridiculous amount of pie and drink a lot of coffee,” Athanas said. “People are invited to bring their family and friends.”

A new event held monthly is called “Breakfast of Champions.” Breakfast is served to members that morning before listening to a member give a 10-to-15 minute “lightning talk” about their current project. The event serves to solicit feedback and support from other members.

Anathas said that “it helps people really understand what other people are working on and it can become a subject to discuss.”

Groundwork also hosts workshops that are available to the community for a small fee. The workshops are run by professionals and deal with topics such as using social media, marketing your business, legal issues, financial planning projections and being more creative.

The organization also opens its doors to the public on AHA! Nights every second Thursday of the month, allowing for free open house coworking. They also offer day passes.

Opportunities for non members also include being able to rent one of their three meeting rooms. They have seating for eight, 20 and 30 people and may include a whiteboard, a flat screen TV, a digital projector, a Polycomm phone, and a USB microphone. The offices are paid for hourly and may be rented for half days or full days.

But in the end, Groundwork focuses as much on the intangibles of interpersonal interaction as it does the hardware of the office space.

“What really excites me about this business is that it’s really about knitting the social fabric in society, something that has been missing with all of our digital communications and devices,” Athanas said. “The most important thing to see happen is when there’s some social interaction, when you see members talk to each other who’ve never interacted before. At the end of the day it’s about working together and developing relationships so that people care about each other.

“When people care about each other they work harder, they work together and everyone rises together.”

Groundwork is one chapter in an internationally expanding industry. According to the Coworking Resources website, these businesses have “unique features and, at the moment, are extremely successful. They are experiencing tremendous growth, utilizing various business models from franchising to more boutique, customized services.”

A native of Bourne, Athanas was introduced to coworking while living in Buenos Aries, Argentina and working as a freelance marketer and consultant. She has a degree in art from the University of California — Santa Barbara.

“When I returned to the U.S., I found myself working at home in the winter. I felt isolated,” she said. “I wondered how I could interact with peers or find people that are working in the same areas as me,” she said. “I thought ‘This is a need that really needs to be filled in this area.’ It was time for me to step up and do something.”

Mindy Wallis moved to New Bedford from the Chicago area three years ago. She was soon to be a member at Groundwork thanks to a suggestion from her realtor. She is an instructional designer for CareAcademy in Boston.

“I work from home, but I wanted to meet people,” she said. “I knew that if I didn’t find some place to work outside my home that I would have a hard time meeting anyone. I went to Groundwork hoping to find some people and it’s worked out great.

“At the time I started, they were having a holiday party and they said ‘Come along, it’s pot luck.’ I told them that we hadn’t even unpacked our dishes yet, and they said ‘It doesn’t matter, bring something or don’t, whatever works for you, just come on along.’ They told me to bring my husband even though he isn’t a member. They were exceedingly welcoming. It allowed me to get to know people rather quickly.”

Athanas co-founded Groundwork with Dena Haden, who left the company to become the program manager at the Co-Creative Center in downtown New Bedford two years ago. Early on, they approached the New Bedford Economic Development Council and earned their support.

They eventually received a grant from Mass Development to cover their startup expenses while the city offered them a discounted rent opportunity. EforAll was eventually recruited to become a member and they assisted with expanding the Groundwork community, mostly through small businesses.

Angela Johnston is the director of business development, marketing and communications for the EDC.

“The city invested in Groundwork and Groundwork is now giving back by lending their support to the coworkers and entrepreneurs in the region,” Johnston said. “They realized that folks who are coworkers come to a space wanting to feel a part of something, and they have created that something.”

Athanas is teamed at Groundwork with the full-time contributions of community manager Caitlin Joseph.

“Caitlin and I have a weekly meeting every Monday morning and one of the agenda items is our members,” Athanas said. “We spend a lot of time discussing in depth what’s going on with the people who do their work here. If someone is going through a hard time, perhaps they just had a surgery, we may discuss sending them a care pack. We really want to be there and provide them with what they need so they feel that they’re appreciated when they come here.

“We put a lot of effort into learning about each new member,” she said. “We’ll find some people to introduce them to who might have common interests, and we make sure to invite them to our social events. We want people to feel comfortable from the start.”

“With such a wide variety of people and industries every day is different,” Joseph said. “You’ll see a lot in a week.”

Original story here.

Shimmer opens in downtown New Bedford

By The Standard-Times

A new addition to the downtown boutique shopping scene is open at 187 Union St. Shimmer focuses on “clean and ethical beauty brands, carrying a variety of cosmetic, personal and home care products,” according to a news release.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Katherine Lowe, proprietor, has roots in the downtown community. Her first job was working in the admissions department of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which was run by her mother for almost 20-years. “Working at the admissions desk taught me everything I know about customer service, and as the epicenter of downtown, it gave me the opportunity to learn about the downtown community,” she said in a statement.

“I’ve always known I wanted to open my own boutique downtown and the time was finally right to venture out on my own,” says Lowe.

The curated collection ranges from organic bath salts to non-toxic mascara, and from non-toxic detergent to safe and reef-friendly sunblock. Shoppers can find brands that are health-conscious and environmentally-friendly, such as Clove + Hallow, Ginger June Candle Company, Lola Jane Naturals, and The Laundress, to name a few, according to a release.

“When my family was making the switch to clean products, we found it very difficult to distinguish between what was actually safe for use and what was simply being marketed as safe. I wanted to create a place where you knew all of the brands were clean and offered a variety of products. Switching to a clean laundry detergent is just as important as switching to clean makeup or skincare.”

For more information, visit www.shopshimmerbeauty.com.

Original story here.

15 years of design by mediumstudio has rebranded New Bedford

If you’re thinking it had something to do with cobblestones or lamp lights, whaling or fishing, industry or the arts, you’re wrong. Well, not entirely wrong — but partially wrong.

Fifteen years ago, mediumstudio formed just a few blocks away from their current location at 38 Bethel Street, on historic Centre Street where BeJeweled is found now.

Over the course of the past 15 years, the graphic design firm has taken everything New Bedford has to offer as enumerated above and re-branded, re-packaged, and re-presented it to the world for the 21st century. Simply put, mediumstudio took design to a new professional level in New Bedford, just as the city was ready for that happen.

You can’t help but notice a certain freshness and graphic audacity in all of their work. It’s defined them from the beginning to this day. And, through countless logos, display ads, flyers, posters, website and social media images of all sorts produced on behalf of their clients, helped rebrand the city they call home.

It’s unquestionable that they burst upon the scene as the hip new kids on the block within the graphic design world in New Bedford and on SouthCoast — in their own unique way. From the beginning, the lowercase ‘m’ and ‘s’, all-one-word agency was much more than just a graphic design studio.

Founding member Keri Cox explains that out back of their first location on Centre Street was a rather famous space she simply refers to as “The Garage.”

As mediumstudio formed by day, on nights and weekends The Garage was a spot to hang out at to socialize, listen to bands, hold an art show — all manner of creative pursuits.

“Generations remember that place,” said Cox.

In those halcyon days and nights, mediumstudio was born in and of the community it would come to rebrand in the future. From Day One, community wasn’t just a place where they had set up shop — it was part of their natural business plan, and remains so to this day.

Cox has long been an important part of the 3rd EyE Unlimited leadership team. She’s also one of only two paid AHA! New Bedford staff persons, assistant to director Lee Heald.

Today at 38 Bethel Street, in a voluminous open space above the Fishing Heritage Center, 3rd EyE members still meet each and every week. The artist Nicole Winning conducts Saturday morning Colorful Yoga classes for children in the space. It’s not uncommon to attend a meeting or event at mediumstudio that has nothing to do with the work being done — but everything to do with the bigger picture that is New Bedford now.

Keri is one of four partners at mediumstudio. She mostly functions as project manager, or as she terms it, “I’m just bossy!”

The other partners are her husband, John Cox; Hannah Haines; and Frank Goncalves.

Each works on their own individual wavelength and reacts to the needs of their clients in their own way. There never has really been a business plan at mediumstudio; it’s evolved over the years and become successful in an organic way.

But it is a successful — and very busy — creative Business, with a capital ‘B’. Back in The Garage days, Kerri says a lot of work was done just for the fun of it, or to fulfill a community need. Over time the dictates of “adulting” caused them all to focus on the bottom line — just not at the expense of creative freedom.

Each of the partners has a distinct identity and client roster, yet collectively become mediumstudio. That brand is distinctive and rests on fundamental design principles that are allowed to breathe and most often built from the ground up via typography. (See a full portfolio of their work at mediumstudio.com.)

Keri Cox is the public face of the firm. As this column once wrote of her, “Very often, when you look behind an event, you find Keri Cox there. She is the glue that holds the various elements of some important happenings together. She almost effortlessly brings diverse people in the city together.”

Hannah Haines is voluble and expansive in an interview. She says that the most memorable praise she recalls a client saying was that “you could always tell mediumstudio designed something because it looked ‘thoughtful’.”

Hannah is responsible for the graphic “look” of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, designing its upcoming season offerings each year, for example. She says, “I’m proud to have worked closely with The Z to conceptualize their seasons for the last 14 years.”

John Cox is reticent to downright shy. He likes the work to speak for itself. It does; his graphic design is widely acknowledged as setting a new standard in the city. The dude is viewed as innately talented by anyone you speak to about him.

On the day an interview for this profile was conducted, Frank Goncalves was unavailable. It’s obvious he is a valued member of the team, however. All the others boasted that he had been with mediumstudio since he was 19, soon after he finished high school. He’s now been at the firm for about nine years.

“Where was he?” that day, Hannah, John and Keri asked one another. It didn’t matter; he and all of them have the space to create on their own time.

Maybe that’s another way mediumstudio launched as and has stayed a design firm for the times. A time in New Bedford’s history that’s also seen it gain national recognition for the creative artistic impulse that is in its DNA.

The graphic design of mediumstudio reflects that even as it is helping to brand it for the wider world.

Their client roster is a mix of non-profits and commercial clients. From AHA! and the New Bedford Folk Festival to Brick Pizzeria, Travessia Winery and Rose Alley Ale House. Plus, developers — some far beyond the city limits — and large organizations like Brigham and Woman’s Hospital.

They “bring a curiosity” to each project, Hannah says, and the reward is “we get to do what we like to do,” she concludes.

Finally, it comes down to quality of life for all the partners. Here, too, they may have helped set the tone 15 years ago for the New Bedford we have now.

A place that supports a creative quality of life and that as a community recognizes the value of artistic fulfillment and achievement.

That’s a place that looks so much better has seen through the eyes of mediumstudio.

Steven Froias blogs for the coworking facility, Groundwork! at NewBedfordCoworking.com. Email: StevenFroias@gmail.com.

Original story here.

SouthCoast Business Persons of the Year: New Bedford artists are serious about the business of art

Posted Jan 5, 2019 at 9:39 PM

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the release of the city’s first comprehensive Arts and Culture Plan.

“This is a big deal,” he said in opening remarks in City Hall’s Ashley Room during a press conference. He noted that the plan builds upon an historic association with the arts in the city, but helps prepare it for even greater achievements.

“It creates a sense of shared purpose,” he went on. “This creates the opportunity for a more vibrant community.” He specifically touched upon the plan’s recommendations to create new cultural districts in the North and South ends — and the chance to lure even more investment into the creative economy of the city.

The collaborative effort to write the plan, he said, sent a signal that the arts “are worthy of your investment” to funders and private businesses alike. “Great stuff doesn’t come free,” he added.

Almost a year in the drafting, the release of the plan to the public during the City Hall ceremony — attended by dozens of the artists who helped shape it — was the capstone of a milestone year for the arts in New Bedford.