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Free Program Helps Low Income Entrepreneurs in Boston -- Shouldn't Every City Do This?

Boston entrepreneurs

Small business owners often fail because they lack the kind of business savvy needed to survive. But legal advice is expensive. What if they could get that kind of advice for free? They can if they are low-income entrepreneurs and small-business owners in the Boston area.

Free legal advice

A non-profit company called Northeast Legal Aid, is now offering free legal services for lower-income small business owners in the Boston suburbs of Lawrence, Lynn and Lowell. The idea is to help lower-income residents who are struggling to either start or keep their small businesses open. The service provides important legal consulting services on issues related to incorporating a business, regulatory compliance, licenses and permits, commercial real estate leases and employment law.

How the idea originated

The idea of offering free legal advice to low-income small business owners originated from 29-year-old Harvard Law School graduate Jared Nicholson. While still in law school, he applied for and received a grant from the Skadden Fellowship Foundation for two years. Northeast Legal Aid is hosting Nicholson's legal services. Nicholson hopes to continue offering the services after the grant is up by securing permanent funding from business and community sources.

Why does Nicholson want to offer free legal services? "I noticed how important legal aid was for businesses," he said. "It's a great program that can make a difference," he added.

To read more about free legal services for low-income business owners, visit www.northeastlegalaid.org

Another great program for local Boston entrepreneurs is Build In Boston (www.buildinboston.org)

Funding and Grants For Women and Families: