18 Massachusetts Business Owners Share the Importance of National Small Business Week 2023

May 3, 2023  | 

At Massachusetts Business Network, we’re all about celebrating entrepreneurship and local businesses. As we honor National Small Business Week, we’re highlighting and amplifying incredible entrepreneurs based in the Bay State as they answer this question:

What does being a business owner in Massachusetts mean to you?

Learn about talented business owners throughout the area and what they value the most about working for themselves.

Perspective from Massachusetts Business Owners

What Entrepreneurship Means to Them

“Massachusetts has always been one of my favorite places, which is why I love being a business owner in the Bay State. There’s a lot of innovation and creativity that happens in Massachusetts, especially when you look towards the startup hub in Boston. I love being able to support local businesses through the work that I do and provide them with the opportunity to learn, grow, and network.” – Ashley Mason, Founder of Massachusetts Business Network & Dash of Social

“Owning an agency in MA means partnering with some of the best and brightest agencies and clients out there, all in your own backyard. We really are the hub of so much innovation and it’s amazing to be part of that.” – Jackie LaVana, Owner of 126 North Marketing

“To me being a small business owner in Massachusetts means the opportunity to support women and help them get into the driver’s seat of their own lives. As women we are often in a serving role with our children, aging parents, jobs, businesses, and homes. I want women to know that it’s okay to ask themselves what they want and spend time and energy getting just that. I have met amazing women in Massachusetts while creating Meet Up groups and in person events. As a small business owner here, I have had the opportunity to help women get into action and focus on themselves.” – Amy Goober, Founder and Action Coach of Drive Your Life®

“The ability to serve our community has been the best part of being a small business owner.” – Mike Potenza, Owner of P’Town Carts & Lobster Pot

“As a small business owner in Massachusetts, I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. Being part of a community that values hard work, creativity, and resilience. I am inspired by the other entrepreneurs around me who are all working towards their own goals and making a difference in their communities. Being a small business owner means I get to be my own boss and create something meaningful for myself and my community. It also means access to resources and support. I love attending networking events, there’s always someone who is willing to lend a helping hand or offer advice. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and excited for what the future holds. I know that I am part of something truly special, and I look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in my community.” – Kathleen Ribeiro, Founder of KMService

“My business, 2Plus2 Tutoring, caters to elementary and middle school students and families. Massachusetts is known for its exceptional education system. Many families are proud of their children’s accomplishments in sports and extracurricular activities, but Massachusetts families especially seek academic achievement. Being born, raised, and educated in Massachusetts as well as obtaining degrees in two Massachusetts universities gives me an inside perspective on the attention to detail needed to serve and please Massachusetts families and students in their need for academic achievement. This holds a lot of merit when operating my business.” – Nina Lee Carmo, Owner & Lead Tutor of 2Plus2 Tutoring

“Personal achievement and flexibility has been everything to me. Many years ago, someone may have described the American dream as having a solid corporate job and owning a home with a white picket fence. Today, one might argue that this dream has evolved into making it on your own and not relying on that same corporate job to fund whatever type of property you dream of living in – whether it be that same home with the white picket fence, or a condo, or investment property, a travel RV, or something else entirely! The feeling of personal achievement seems sweeter this way. As for flexibility, this was a game changer for my family. Working for myself offers control of my own schedule – a true fluid flexibility I could not find at the corporate level. Sure, I could work from home here and there – but generally within business hours. Now, I can work during school hours and bolster this with night & weekend spurts that allow me to still do my 40 hours – but when I choose to do them.” – Danielle O’Brien, Owner of Parkway Real Estate

“To us, being a small business owner means helping Bostonians (and beyond!) by being the best we can be.” – Courtney Burt, Marketing Manager at Spot Easy

“My business is entirely service-oriented, so for me it means having a chance to make a meaningful impact on the community where I live. It also means that I get to create an offering that combines my unique set of skills and talents in a way that is intended to have the greatest benefit or solves a specific problem. I think most of us who start businesses have had unusual career paths — we have tried different industries and experienced a wide range of roles. We see gaps in the way things work and we feel a deep conviction about trying to close those gaps. In my case, having been a chronic back and hip pain sufferer for decades, I felt like my health care practitioners weren’t seeing the big picture. My access to specialists who could help address my symptoms were either limited by my benefits coverage or simply considered ‘non-traditional’ and outside my health care options completely. I also worked in health care administration for several years before becoming a Pilates teacher, so I saw firsthand how the reimbursement of health care in this country is set up in such a way that people are seen as a collection of procedures and costs rather than complex human beings who exist in a particular social, environmental and physical context that contributes to their health experiences. Pain in particular cannot be solved by addressing little slivers of a person’s whole life. Because of what various movement practices have done for my sense of self-worth and confidence, as well as how they have helped me progress beyond pain, I combined my Pilates training with pain reprocessing therapy and created a space where people can seek healing on many levels. That is my hope.” – Dana Karen Ciccone, Owner of Movement Remedies

“Being a small business owner is an opportunity for us to be more connected with our community and to share our creations with others. It’s an amazing feeling to have customers tell us that our rubs have greatly improved their weekly meals. Starting our small business allowed us to engage with local residents when we otherwise would not have been able to. We do a lot of marketing through word of mouth and we participate in local farmers markets. These engagements have led us to getting our products in local stores – again another chance for us to be a bigger part of the community. This is why being a small business owner is important to us and why we love what we do.” – Dan & Daniela Procopio, Founders of Stove Oven Grill

“Massachusetts is a close-knit state with a lot of pride. People here are proud of the beaches, the sports teams, the city, and more. I enjoy working with entrepreneurs in Massachusetts because this pride transfers into their businesses. They genuinely care about their products and services.” – Alex O’Neil, Founder & CEO of City on the Hill Consultancy

“I love being able to use my marketing skills and expertise to help businesses grow in a way that feels authentic and meaningful to me. I love being my own boss and having the flexibility to make my own schedule. And, most importantly, I’m able to find a better balance between my work and personal life.” – Colleen Gordon, Founder of CK Media

“The creative community in Boston and the whole state of Massachusetts has been a fun community to build a business in. Building FilterGrade in Boston has opened up so many new doors for me. From the connections and meetups, to the thriving art and creative community, it is really special. I’m excited for the years ahead, especially with more in-person events and activities.” – Mike Moloney, Founder and CEO of FilterGrade

“Being a small business owner in Massachusetts means valuing people you cross paths with and appreciating what makes them so unique. It means never forgetting where you came from and who inspired and supported you along the way. It also means being a source of encouragement and inspiration for others too. Massachusetts is a special place where people come from all different walks of life but I think we all share one common goal: To pursue our dreams and live life to the fullest. I feel most successful when I can help people do the things that truly make them happy.” – Marah Jacobs, Owner of MJ Style Flow

“Being a small business owner means having creative freedom to design my own structures based on my experiences. Building a valuable brand with my knowledge, personality and perspective from the ground up will provide stability and a loyal following. I am passionate about helping people with their skin, but going from job to job trying to find the right fit is very unfulfilling. Having something that is my own is motivating, I can go in whatever direction I’m led into!” – Kristi Johns, Founder of The Skin Therapist Kristi

“To me, being a small business owner means access to a tremendous amount of wonderful clients — from students to folks looking to re-enter the workforce, to busy entrepreneurs looking for help managing social sites — Massachusetts offers a wealth of opportunity for any small-sized business looking to thrive!” – Christine Fleming, Founder of Higher Communication LLC

“As a content marketing agency working with leading B2B software brands, Boston is a hub for innovation in this industry. My business partner and I have been able to leverage our networks in the B2B SaaS space and grow our business to support global teams, which is incredible. We’re lucky to be surrounded by a thriving startup economy, along with established enterprise businesses, and to work with freelancers and fellow agencies from the Massachusetts region. I’m excited to see how these Boston-founded companies will grow and continue to bring more job opportunities to our state — and personally, I’m hopeful that we’ll add more creatives to our team at CXD Studio in the near future.” – Katherine Boyarsky, Founder and CMO of CXD Studio

“Being a small business owner in MA means so many things to me. Being a black woman, mom, and life coach, working in MA gives me many opportunities to build my dream career, which brings its own excitement, joy, and challenges.

With a supportive business environment, a highly educated workforce, a diverse economy, and a vibrant cultural scene, having a small business in Massachusetts can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Each phase of my life has helped shape my perspective and propelled me to where I am now as a small business owner. I emigrated here with my parents from Haiti when I was ten. I was raised in MA, where I had the privilege to experience my formative years, my undergrad and graduate journey. Now, I am using my 20+ years of work experience in the nonprofit sector to build a small business coaching women of color navigating change and life transitions. With my personal and professional experience, I bring an intersectional lens to the table that is necessary for business owners.

Owning a small business in Massachusetts also comes with challenges, and they are considerable. The state has a high cost of living, which can be complex and challenging for folks within marginalized groups to navigate, a burden for those who may not have access to the same access as the majority. For some women entrepreneurs, it may mean that they are on their own: running their business, supporting their family, and keeping it all going as best as they can. Some may not have the luxury of having big budgets for advertising and marketing. Their only option may be to become really good at their craft so people can find them. Additionally, it can make it difficult for small businesses to attract and retain employees.

The same attributes that made it possible to learn and grow are the same reasons why it means a lot for me to have launched my business here. As a woman of color, I have a unique perspective on being an entrepreneur and the struggles women entrepreneurs face when trying to grow their dream. Using my expertise as a life coach and in personal development, I focus on uplifting women of color as they navigate change and life transitions. Being a small business owner in MA is my commitment to giving back to the place that gave so much to me.” – Madjeen Lorthe, Founder & Owner of Transitions Well Done

How to Get Support as a Massachusetts Business Owner

Leverage the Community at Massachusetts Business Network

Our biggest goal at Massachusetts Business Network is to provide a platform to organizations who are looking to amplify their voices, spread their stories, and connect with individuals throughout the state. If there’s any way we can support you, or if you have an idea in mind for collaboration, please feel free to fill out our contact form.


  • Thank you so much for featuring my quote! Boston’s apartment rental market is infamously difficult. We’re trying to change at Spot Easy and it has been super fulfilling for me to be part of it. I think when your goal is helping people it makes work not feel like ‘work’. 🙂


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