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grows in first year

Micro Biz Alliance
grows in first year

The Micro Business Alliance of the Greater Rochester Area Inc. turns a year old this month and plans to celebrate Sept. 18 with a luncheon featuring nationally known home-business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards.
The group, started by home-business owners Mary Malaszek and Anne Kaplan, is more successful than either of the founders expected. It has grown to more than 100 members, and offers members both formal programs and an informal advice network.
A partnership with Paychex Inc. is its biggest accomplishment to date, says Malaszek, the group’s president.
Paychex allows small businesses that use its payroll services to sign up for health care benefits. The company has extended that service to any MBA-GRA member.
Besides the service itself, Paychex also handled the mailing publicizing the service, Malaszek says.
“We knew there would be a fit given Paychex’s background,” she says. After several months of negotiations, the program was off the ground.
Small-business owners can sign up for health care benefits through other trade groups, but membership fees for those groups tend to be $100 to $200 more than MBA-GRA’s, she says.
Malaszek notes these other programs or partnerships as accomplishments during the first year:
–organizing monthly luncheon programs with formal educational speakers;
–an affiliation with Citibank (New York State) to distribute its personal- computer banking software to members. The bank also allows the group to use its conference rooms for meetings and helped underwrite the study that led to MBA-GRA’s formation;
–an agreement with AT&T Corp. allowing the group to distribute AT&T’s Internet software for free; and
–launching a Web site at http:// www.mba-gra.org.
In the coming year, the first goal is membership growth, Malaszek says. The group also wants to add more seminars and a course on writing a business plan or marketing plan.
–Catherine Roberts

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