With 750 employees and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, The Boston Beer Company probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of small business. But just because the makers of Samuel Adams have grown from a shoestring to become the country’s largest-selling craft beer doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten their small business roots.
Through their Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program which is being offered in partnership with leading microlender Accion, The Boston Beer Company wants to increase the success of small food, beverage & hospitality businesses (typically employing between 1-5 people) by combining expert business coaching and advising with access to small business capital.
As part of the program, participants are able to attend free financial literacy and business education workshops and seminars and speed coaching events where they can network with other food & beverage entrepreneurs and meet one-on-one in person with Boston Beer Company staff to get marketing, packaging, legal, financial or sales and distribution advice.
In addition to the educational component, the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Loan Fund helps to provide much needed capital to lower and moderate income small business owners whose businesses would not typically be approved for a bank loan. The microloans, which range from $500 - $25,000, can be used to help start a business, purchase inventory or equipment or pay licensing fees.
Since Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream started in New England in 2008, the program has distributed more than $1 million to more than 130 small food and beverage businesses enabling them to create or save more than 1,000 local jobs. This year, they plan on expanding the program nationwide by making an additional investment of $1 million to support small business owners through coaching events in more cities, microloans and a new online community.
By providing resources and tools to help small business owners thrive, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream is a great example of how one business has been able to give back to the local and entrepreneurial community. To learn more about some of the businesses they’ve helped, be sure to check out their entrepreneurial success stories.
What about you?
How might Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream or a similar program help you solve some of your small business challenges?
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Chris Martin]