Towns organize to launch website; 15 communities join together to assist, attract new business.

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Fifteen towns in southern Central Massachusetts are launching a new brand and website to help businesses grow and attract new enterprise to the region.

"We are incredibly proud of our new brand identity and excited about the launch of our new, regional economic development website," said Alexandra McNitt, executive director of the Chamber of Central Mass South. "The effort represents four years of unprecedented collaboration among two regional Chambers of Commerce, municipal leadership from 15 towns, distinguished business partners and the commonwealth."

The brand and website, www.centralmasssouth.org, were developed by the smith&jones idea agency, which has been involved since the beginning of the regional planning, according to Ms. McNitt.

In October, the Central Mass South Regional Economic Development Organization applied for and received a state grant to develop a program to "support the important work done by local and regional economic development organizations," said Jim Ermilio, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

The program enables the state to directly support grass-roots efforts by providing "a consistent and efficient response to businesses seeking assistance," Mr. Ermilio said. "These grants represent a partnership with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to establish a more comprehensive plan for economic development that supports regionally based efforts to help existing businesses grow to scale and to attract new business to the state."

Ms. McNitt said REDO's aim is to support local workforce development, school-to-career initiatives, and business development and expansion in the region.

"This is just the beginning of a long-range plan for regional economic development that is responsive to the unique attributes of each community individually and the region as a whole," she said.

Ms. McNitt said the initiative is ideal for Central Mass South for several reasons:

The 15 towns that make up CMS - Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Dudley, East Brookfield, Holland, North Brookfield, Oxford, Southbridge, Spencer, Sturbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster and West Brookfield - boast great cultural and educational institutions and four-season...

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