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Martin Desmarais

Stories by Martin

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Business with a social conscience

Argus ad agency’s motto is “Work that Matters”

“What is essential to Argus is to do work that matters, that is our core value and core principle. That leads us to work with organizations that we respect and admire,” Arenas said.

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Tropical Foods in Dudley Square is opening new store on February 4

After 40 years in the same location in Dudley Square, ethnic food market pioneer Tropical Foods is opening up a brand new store on Feb. 4.

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Smarter in the City Lab gears up for 2nd class of startups

Smarter in the City, a business incubator in Dudley Square, is continuing to build on its early success and has selected the second group of local startup companies it will support for a five-month period, starting next month.

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Mobile apps increasingly seen as essential business tool

While recent studies have shown that using mobile technologies — such as apps that help consumers connect with a business over handheld devices — can significantly increase revenue, other experts say businesses that don’t use mobile technologies will eventually wither and die.

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Minority contractors tap Beverley Johnson to lead organization

The Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association broke new ground last week when it announced the appointment of Beverley Johnson as the organization’s first female president and chairwoman of the board.

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Dorchester entrepreneur provides marketing to nonprofit sector

Marketing firm wins Social Impact Prize

When Dorchester resident Michelle Miller Groves named her startup Social Good Marketing, she knew she would have to do something to impact the community. By targeting her integrated marketing services to nonprofits and setting up an internship program helping college students get experience with small businesses, she has done just that.

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Business courses help stylist keep salon in the black

Erinn Danielle loves being a hair stylist. There is nothing the founder of Simply Erinn’s Unisex Salon in Cambridge would rather do with her day than help her customers feel great about their hair. But running a business is another thing and it wasn’t until she finally focused on the business end of things — a decade in to owning her salon — that the future really brightened.

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Small businesses looking forward to year of growth

Riding a wave of confidence, small business owners across the U.S. are expecting a banner year in 2015, with all indicators pointing to growth.

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Entrepreneur finds her niche recruiting tech sector talent

Entrepreneur Melissa James started her own recruitment company to help diversify the field by connecting underrepresented technical talent with software and IT companies.

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U.S. small businesses got a boost from rising economy

Small businesses had much to celebrate in 2014 as all indicators continued to point to the steady rise of the U.S. economy out of the shadow of the Great Recession — led by growth in hiring and the increasingly effective use of technology to compete.

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Life Sciences Center grants $100,000 for diversity study

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center — a Waltham-based organization that supports life sciences innovation, research and development — is giving $100,000 to The Partnership to take a look at the state of diversity in the industry and develop a professional development program that will help train and retain underrepresented minorities working in the life sciences industry.

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BU prof champions hospitality administration career potential

The Boston University School of Hospitality Administration has a major asset in Assistant Professor Erinn Tucker, who is teaching her students that hospitality experience opens doors well beyond just working at a hotel or restaurant, and that they can play a major part in the U.S.’s increasingly service-oriented economy.

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Mass. Health Connector helping small businesses

The federal Small Business Health Options Program, known as SHOP, is set up to help companies with 50 or fewer workers get better deals for employee health coverage, under the requirements of The Affordable Care Act. Setting up an online SHOP marketplace, like a similar version for individuals, is supposed to be the easiest way to get the best deal.

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Hub fast food workers join national protest for wages

Massachusetts restaurant workers and living wage advocates took to the streets in protest late last week in the national Fight for $15 campaign, joining protesters in almost 200 cities across the United States — this despite Massachusetts already passing one of the highest minimum wage hikes in the country and also seeing voters approve a ballot question last month to guarantee earned sick time to most workers.

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Nandhavan takes reins at Boston Asian business group

Jesse Nandhavan, the new president and CEO of the Boston chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals, knows he has a big task in front of him as he inherits a group that is facing a changing Asian-American business community in Boston. For years, the norm was for Asians to aspire to be doctors, engineers or corporate executives — but now more and more are trying their hand at starting their own small businesses.

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Entrepreneur Joanne Chang leaves career in business consulting to start successful Flour Bakery

One-time management consultant and math major Joanne Chang has turned her dream of opening her own bakery into a successful growing business, with four very popular Flour Bakery & Café locations around Boston.

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William Julius Wilson sees jobs as key to black progress

Civil rights and social policy expert William Julius Wilson does not pull punches when it comes to discussing the problems that face communities of color in today’s world — and at Boston University’s recent event examining The Civil Rights Act of 1964 he argued compellingly that the lack of access to jobs and job training means little hope for America’s most disadvantaged.

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A Sweet Place Bakery planning expansion with new Dudley location

A Sweet Place founder Beverly Hilaire ditched her profitable Fields Corner location in the hopes of securing a larger space in Dudley Square.

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Business owners hoping Baker will continue gains

Massachusetts business owners and business and organizations that support them are already at work planning a pro-business agenda for the incoming administration of Governor-elect Charlie Baker.

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Report disputes ‘brain drain’ phenomenon

While some business leaders say Boston is losing college graduates to other cities, a new report shows the city retains a better educated workforce than most U.S. cities

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NAACP’s Lean In series inspires young professionals

Volunteers with the NAACP Boston Branch hoped to inspire young professional women with the Lean In Series.

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Officials laud Roxbury business incubator model

A number of federal, state and city officials visited Roxbury late last week to promote efforts to back the budding urban entrepreneurial community in Boston’s inner-city areas.

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Corey Thomas took a slow, steady path to the top of the corporate ladder

Corey Thomas, CEO of Rapid 7, always knew he wanted to run a company someday, but early on his was given the advice to seek experience and learn the different aspects of running a business.

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Initiative for a Competitive Inner City recognizes inner city entrepreneurs

ICIC was founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter who realized that the development of small businesses is essential for the healthy growth of the nation’s inner cities. In keeping with this principle, ICIC headquarters are located in Roxbury, a primarily black and Latino section of Boston.

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Harvard’s Michael Porter: small businesses hold keys to U.S. fiscal health

Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter had a strong message for business owners and entrepreneurs attending the Inner City 100 Symposium last week — the business environment in the United States is showing some disturbing trends and small businesses may be the best hope to reverse them.

Small businesses at head of trend in new job creation

Hiring continued to rise through last month and small businesses are leading the way, adding the most employees across the United States.

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Asian professional group forges connections with SBA

The Boston chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals has recently increased its efforts to connect Asian businesses with the wider Boston business community.

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Entrepreneurs exploring new ways to market on campus

Jossle is a youth marketing agency focusing on connecting brands with college students through on-campus representation, events and student-focused marketing.

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Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce cultivates class of women leaders

A Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce program offers women business leaders seminars, workshops, roundtables and other events focused on personal leadership development, negotiation, skill building and networking.

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Tremendous Maid founders emphasize upward mobility

The founders of the Tremendous Maid cleaning service maximize opportunities for their employees to grow professionally.

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Economists discuss lessons from Market Basket saga

A panel of academics discusses the implications of the Market Basket workers’ revolt.

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Symposium recognizes successful inner city firms

The Boston-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has been helping urban entrepreneurs and inner-city businesses for 20 years. For the last 15, the organization’s signature event has been the Inner City 100 Symposium and Awards.

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As economy moves forward, savvy small businesses can continue to strengthen

Innovative thinking and continual belt tightening are keys to success.

Five years on from the official end of the Great Recession, a slow-growing U.S. economy has emerged. While many businesses have righted the ship from the toughest days, many small businesses are merely plodding alone, but small business experts are optimistic and suggest that entrepreneurs who showcase innovative thinking and continual belt tightening will make their businesses even stronger. Keywords: Small businesses, economic downturn, Great Recession, growing economy, business growth, improve the bottom line, increasing sales, profit margins

Entrepreneurs of color push women-owned business growth in U.S.

Women of color have become the driving force of the rise in women-owned firms in the United States. According to reports, they are doing so despite more obstacles and are driven to entrepreneurship as a result of structural limits in the traditional workforce.

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Minority Business Development Agency set for National Minority Enterprise Development Week 2014

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency is targeting minority business owners and offering a boost to their bottom line by taking part in the National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference 2014.

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Downtown Buffalo business district wins battle to add financial firm

In what N.Y. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is calling a big win for the downtown business district of Buffalo, equipment financing firm Blue Bridge Financial — after considering out-of-state-options — has decided to set up new headquarters in the historic Electric Tower in Buffalo’s central business district. The move keeps Blue Bridge’s current 12 jobs in the area and will create 71 new jobs over a five year period.

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SBA releases small business profiles for all states

On June 17, the Office of Advocacy, an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration, released a report entitled “Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories,” an annual analysis of each state’s small businesses.

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Google admits low diversity numbers, pledges to improve

Tech giant Google surprised many last week by going public with data that showed the Silicon Valley-based company has a long way to go in its diversity efforts

National Black Chamber of Commerce speaks out on new EPA greenhouse gas rule

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The EPA says the proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power. But the National Black Chamber of Commerce is concerned the regulations will increase operating costs for business owners.

Study finds small businesses struggle to adopt technology

Global Insights conducted a study of small business owners around the globe.

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Immigrants from Argentina thrive with Massachusetts-based Golden Cannoli Shells

The company was named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the “Massachusetts Small Business of the Year.”

The Chelsea, Mass.-based Golden Cannoli Company has received national recognition for its handmade cannoli and fillings by some of the largest distributors and customers in the United States for its handmade cannoli and fillings. This year, the company was named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the “Massachusetts Small Business of the Year.”

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Boston opens Office of Women’s Advancement

The Office of Women’s Advancement will oversee and coordinate the Mayor Martin Walsh’s initiatives to promote equal rights and equal economic, social, political and educational opportunities for all women and girls throughout the city.

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Panelists discuss hurdles to building an inclusive new economy movement

A panel at the New Economy Coalition’s CommonBound conference discusses how people of color are faring in emerging industries and alternative economic structures

Bank of America pulls out of Massachusetts affordable mortgage progam

Bank of America announced it would no longer participate in the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance’s ONE Mortgage program

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Dudley Neighbors Inc. celebrates 25 years building community through land trust

Dudley Neighbors Inc., a community land trust under the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, last week celebrated a quarter-century of success as one of the ground-breaking land trusts in the country.

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Department of Children and Families vows changes in wake of audit report

The Child Welfare League of America has found that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families is seriously lacking in its abilities to help the state’s children due to the department’s out-of-date policies, high caseloads, inadequate technology and no system in place to make things better.

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Chinatown development brings rare affordable units

As real estate costs skyrocket around Boston, Chinatown has been at the center of housing advocates’ fight to keep long-time city residents from being forced out of their neighborhoods. Last week, Chinatown residents got a boost with the groundbreaking on a long-awaited project to add more affordable housing to the neighborhood.

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Election reform legislation modernizes Massachusetts’ voting

With the signature of Gov. Deval Patrick, a new Massachusetts election reform bill became law last week and has advocates heralding the legislation as making the state a leader in voting modernization.

Boston Redevelopment Authority changes aimed at transparency

The administration of Mayor Martin Walsh announced changes to the Boston Redevelopment Authority last week officials say will bring greater transparency to the development process.

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Boston Housing Authority to redevelop Whittier Street housing

The Boston Housing Authority plans to revamp the current Whittier Street public housing development and the surrounding Roxbury neighborhood in a $339 million project that includes housing, commercial development, health and human services, public safety initiatives and job development.