“It’s kind of a support group for CEOs,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president and CEO of the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, of the newly founded SouthCoast CEO Roundtable. “It’s for [CEOs] to get peer-to-peer advice. It’s modeled after other programs like it that have taken place around the nation. It’s about networking and helping businesses to grow.”
The program was developed in partnership with the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network and the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The organizations will also serve as resources for the CEOs to receive the information they need.
Nascimento said that after conducting a focus group among local CEO’s to see if there was an interest and need for help, the response was positive.
The program has been planned for almost a year. It is currently in the recruitment stage, searching for qualified entrants. So far, Nascimento said there has been some definite interest, including from manufacturing firms.
“The group would be limited to eight to 12 participants, all representing industries that are considered small to mid-size, from $500,000 in annual sales to just under $10 million,” he told Providence Business News last week. Members must have a minimum of four employees and be established for at least two years. They also must not be direct competitors.
Members determine what is to be discussed, as well as scheduling experts or speakers to appear. Applicants must sign a confidentiality agreement, commit to regularly attend the meetings and agree to be honest and accountable to the group.
“The SouthCoast CEO Roundtable is an exciting initiative for local small business CEOs to join in a collaborative effort to improve operations and opportunities by meeting together and confidentially addressing issues common to its members,” said Melinda Ailes, regional director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network. “It is important … to help companies grow their footprint here in the SouthCoast at a cost that is lower than existing CEO groups.”