Boston, MA, September 2009 - The Boston Business Journal (BBJ) has honored The Boston Beer Company for creating Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a program that assists low and moderate income microentrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry. The BBJ presented the award to Founder and Brewer Jim Koch during its Fourth Annual Corporate Citizenship Summit held in Boston.
Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream provides many different kinds of support to financially underserved food and beverage entrepreneurs, including seminars, workshops, mentoring and speed coaching events where Boston Beer employees provide their expertise one-on-one and with small groups of entrepreneurs. Hundreds of current and aspiring entrepreneurs have participated in these events.
In addition, The Boston Beer Company donated $250,000 to create a Loan Fund that provides micro-loans to small business owners. Most of these loans range from between $5,000 and $10,000. Many of the small businesses receiving loans would be unable to secure bank loans or other means of traditional financing.
To date, Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream has provided loans to more than 30 businesses and has helped create or save more than 240 jobs in New England.
The Award, presented at the Boston Business Journal's 2009 Corporate Philanthropy & Citizenship Summit, honors top corporate philanthropists and provides professional knowledge on how to begin or sustain a charitable mission. The award to Boston Beer Company was given for creativity and innovative partnership development with not-for-profit organizations.
“We had several criteria in creating a philanthropy program with our name on it,” Koch said. “First, we wanted to do more than just write a check; we wanted to have a program where we truly leverage some of the unique assets we possess at Samuel Adams. I started Samuel Adams in my kitchen as a homebrewer, so I know first hand the challenges people face when turning a passion into a viable small business. Second, we wanted to focus on the food & beverage industry because it’s what we know. Third, we wanted to provide meaningful counsel and guidance. Employees throughout the Company -- from our graphic designers to our sales team to our computer gurus -- have volunteered their time to give these aspiring entrepreneurs a leg up. We are honored by this award.”
In June 2008 The Boston Beer Company announced a partnership with ACCION USA, a pioneer and leader in U.S. microfinance that provides critical capital and financial education to small businesses.
Since 1991 ACCION USA has been at the forefront of providing micro-loans to small businesses in the United States. It has garnered national attention for its ability to support tiny, often single-person ventures and its contribution to economic growth through job creation. As the loans are repaid, they are reissued to other participants, so that the value of the fund increases over time.
Gina Harman, President at ACCION USA observed, “This partnership comes at a time when access to capital for entrepreneurs has never been more important. Samuel Adams has not only placed small business loans within reach for hundreds of Massachusetts entrepreneurs, they have created a comprehensive program by including financial education via their unique “Speed Coaching” events. They’ve not just helped small businesses, they’ve created a community. The program should stand as a model for other corporations as they develop philanthropic programs.”
Harman continued, “Brewing the American Dream has been successful because it harnesses the strengths of two unique organizations – one public and one private. The food and business and creative expertise of Samuel Adams combined with the small business lending expertise of ACCION USA has resulted in a program that provides vital access to capital and training for local micro-entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industries. It’s unique because Jim Koch believed in local microfinance, and his entire team has rallied behind him in his pledge to make a difference in the lives of small businesses.”