Success Stories

Elena Rodriguez and Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence

According to the 2010 Census, the City of Lawrence is home to the largest percentage (73.8%) of Hispanic and Latino communities in the Commonwealth. Moreover, the largest community represented in Lawrence is the Dominican Republic population (30,243); which happens to have the third largest concentration of Dominicans in the world – following the Dominican Republic and the Washington Heights community in New York City. 

One of the biggest challenges facing New Americans as they immigrate to cities such as Lawrence has been the language barrier.  Accessing services and programs to integrate in a new country can be extremely difficult without being able to understand information in your native language.  That’s why the City of Lawrence has been benefitting from innovative programs that are providing Spanish-language services to meet the accessibility needs of New Americans.  

A mother of two children, Elena Rodriguez came to the United States in 2013 with mostly her... Read More

Sweet Grace Heavenly Cakes

When Danaris Mazara came to America at the age of 22, all she had was a suitcase and a spirit full of dreams.  Sponsored by her brother already in the states - she lived in the attic of his home for a year before getting married and starting her own family.

The process of getting assimilated to life in a new country wasn’t easy; she was only able to find low wage jobs, working at Walmart - when a blessing in disguise changed her life.  In 2008, her husband was laid off from the Haverhill Paperboard, a local manufacturer in operation for over a century that cost the region 174 jobs.  Her minimum wage paycheck wasn’t nearly enough to pay all the bills and cover all the needs of her young family – even facing foreclosure. It was a financial struggle that got her to the point where her mother gave her $35 to buy groceries for the family because of their situation.  Instead of buying food, she bought ingredients to make Flan, a popular Dominican dessert that she intended to sell... Read More

Holly Daniels Christensen

Born at her kitchen table in 2007, Holly Daniels Christensen took Dune Jewelry from a sole proprietor to a thriving small business that has created over 30 jobs - employing sand artists, jewelry-makers, packagers, marketing, and sales associates all across the country.

Dune Jewelry uses sand from thousands of locations around the world to create handmade bracelets, cuff links, necklaces, earrings and other keepsakes.  Using a unique and patented manufacturing process, Dune Jewelry captures special beach memories for you to cherish in the form of custom jewelry.

As Holly started making beach sand jewelry for friends and family, she learned that nearly everyone she knew had a special memory or an emotional attachment to beaches all over the world. “I’ve had customers tell me time and time again, that the recipient of our jewelry cried when they opened the box because it brought back such intense memories,” shared Holly.

In 2012, when Holly realized the potential... Read More

An interview with George Gould Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development

The Small Business Innovation Research program was established with the goal of strengthening the role of innovative small businesses in federally-funded research and development.  SBIR is a competitive, awards-based program that enables small firms to explore their technological potential in three phases -- while providing an incentive to profit from commercialization.

 Although the government-wide program was officially established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 by the Reagan Administration, the founding father of the SBIR program – Roland Tibbetts – championed the cause decades earlier while serving as the SBIR program manager at the National Science Foundation from 1976 to 1996.  Mr. Tibbetts was a distinguished Veteran, a First Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corp during World War II who understood the value of government funded programs.  After serving... Read More