SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

September 29, 2010

Program helps companies take their next step

SALEM — When state and local officials trumpet programs to help business owners, they usually target struggling startups or those withering on the vine of the Great Recession.

But a unique new program at the Enterprise Center at Salem State, called "Managing Growth for Greater Success," is aimed at providing a way for robust North Shore businesses to grow — and create more jobs along the way.

To get into the program, these companies had to be growing rapidly. And they had to be making money, with more than $1 million to $30 million in revenues to qualify. This crop of businesses seeking mentoring help are varied and include Windover Construction of Manchester, which is building a new dormitory on the campus of Endicott College; Finz Restaurant in Salem; and professional staffing company R&L Associates of Beverly, to name a few.

One of those businesses looking for growth support includes POS Supply Solutions of Danvers, which sells point-of-sale products, such as rolls of thermal paper, to other companies. The company has seen rapid growth in recent years, but its leader faces challenges as his company feels growing pains.

"The challenge is developing my own leadership skills," said Stephen Enfield, a Topsfield resident and the company's president and CEO.

These companies' leaders share common concerns, including stress about growth, taking on more staff, ramping up sales and marketing, and whether they have systems in place to handle the increased business.

The seminar, which costs business leaders $1,500 to attend, aims to link North Shore businesses with industry experts who can mentor them. Beth Goldstein and Barry Horwitz, business educators at Boston University and successful consultants, are seminar instructors.

It's not a one-day affair, either. There are five seminar sessions throughout the fall, with leaders attending additional mentoring sessions.

What is at stake is not just company profits but jobs. The 16 companies involved have the potential to add 71 full-time and 38 part-time jobs over the next few years, said Christine Sullivan, the executive director of the Enterprise Center.

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