Economic Development

From targeted workshops to networking events, the Ed Portal provides the Allston-Brighton business community with programs designed to promote success in a dynamic 21st century economy. Harvard also remains committed to facilitating engagement between community partners to ensure vibrancy of the Western Avenue commercial district and its identity as a neighborhood where local businesses can grow and thrive.

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The day-to-day of local business owners is fast-paced and always changing. The Harvard Ed Portal helps provide us with programs, connections, and resources that allow us all to be partners together in the exciting transformations along Western Avenue.

Benny Omid
Franchisee, Dunkin’ Donuts
209 North Harvard Street, Allston
Benny Omid


Small Business Planning and Advancement Programs

For the prospective business owner, start-up, or existing small business, we offer workshops, coaching, and online learning to help you plan and advance your business. Our workshops are interactive, results-oriented, and relevant to the current economy and business climate. Our instructors are experts in their field and draw on their experience as business owners themselves.

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Small Business Certificate Series featuring ManageMentor

Build, broaden, and refresh your knowledge and skills as a small business owner by enrolling in the Harvard Ed Portal’s small business courses featuring ManageMentor.

This program is free for Harvard Ed Portal members, Allston-Brighton and Cambridge residents and business owners, and Gardner Pilot Academy parents/guardians only.

Learn More

These courses combine flexible online learning using ManageMentor from Harvard Business Publishing, the publishers of the renowned Harvard Business Review, and virtual workshops with Areen Shahbari, faculty member at Harvard University Extension School and Harvard Professional Development Programs. Once you complete the program requirements you will receive a Certificate of Completion. ManageMentor provides interactive activities; expert commentary; articles from Harvard Business Review; podcasts; and videos. Plus, qualified Allston-Brighton and Cambridge residents and small business owners are eligible for one-on-one business coaching and a 4-month scholarship to LinkedIn Learning.

Programs include:

  • Business Plan Development
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Innovation & Creativity
  • Leading People
  • Finance Essentials
  • Strategy Planning & Execution

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Harvard Ed Portal Sponsored SCORE Workshops

The Harvard Ed Portal is proud to partner with SCORE Boston by sponsoring free small business workshops held at the Harvard Ed Portal. These workshops are open to all business owners and those considering starting their own business.

SCORE Boston provides business mentoring from experienced advisors and free workshops. From startups to existing businesses looking to grow, the expertise SCORE provides helps entrepreneurs succeed.

Money accumulating

Business Finance Workshops

Cash Flow and Access to Financing for Small Businesses
These workshops are open to everyone. Allston-Brighton and Cambridge small businesses and residents who attend all four workshops in the series will be provided with a LinkedIn Learning scholarship to continue their learning and individual business consulting by a financial expert.

View Past Workshops

  • The Relationship Between Cash and Operations
  • Increase Approvals of Financing Capital
  • Dashboards and Financial Analysis
  • Rebuild Cash Flow Post Pandemic

Communication Skills Workshops

Communication Skills

Verbal and written communication are foundational skills in every career. The Harvard Ed Portal offers a series of workshops in business writing, public speaking, and meeting management. Ed Portal members are invited to attend our 4-part series on public speaking and receive access to LinkedIn Learning.

View Past Workshops

  • Conflict Resolution with Sharon Edwards
  • How to Plan Your Online Meeting
  • Using Your Voice: Speak Up and Speak Out at Meetings
  • Finding Your E-Charisma with Jill Slye
  • Taking a Leadership Frame of Mind in Online Meetings


The programs Harvard ManageMentor offers to Allston, Brighton, and Cambridge entrepreneurs and business owners are invaluable. Not only do these programs provide a tremendous amount of resources and applicable tools to help entrepreneurs start and grow sustainable, scalable businesses, but they also foster a strong sense of community while offering the opportunity to focus on the specific challenges and aspirations of each entrepreneur.

I have enjoyed sharing my business knowledge and expertise to help entrepreneurs overcome the challenges they face; find the courage to grow their businesses; discover how to innovate, think, and act strategically; and how to promote their products and services.

Areen Shahbari
Harvard Instructor, Innovation & Strategy Consultant, Corporate Trainer, and Entrepreneur
Areen Shahbari
  • Flexible Self-Paced Learning

    Browse free online courses in a variety of subjects from HarvardX, a University-wide initiative which was launched in parallel with edX, a non-profit learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

    Browse Courses

  • Flexible Self-Paced Learning

    Access more than 2,500 online courses from 140 institutions on edX.

    Learn More

  • Flexible Self-Paced Learning

    LinkedIn Learning Scholarships are provided to Allston-Brighton residents and/or Harvard Ed Portal members when they attend an Ed Portal Economic Development program.

    Learn More

Scholarships & Public Funding

Working with Harvard University partners, the Harvard Ed Portal offers more than 70 scholarships annually to Allston-Brighton residents and Harvard Ed Portal members in everything from continuing education, wellness, arts, and more.


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HarvardX for Allston Scholarship

Offered on a rolling basis, the HarvardX for Allston Scholarship helps recipients enhance career opportunities, explore an interest, or learn something new.

Extension School

Allston-Brighton Community Scholarship

Offered for any one, 4-credit course at the Harvard Extension School for noncredit, undergraduate, or graduate credit.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Smith Field Park in Allston

Harvard-Allston Public Realm Flexible Fund

Supports projects that enhance the public realm and for which public sources of financing may be unavailable or inadequate, including improvements in public parks and open spaces, and neighborhood beautification.


Harvard University is rich with free resources that all business owners can access. Sign up for newsletters that are of interest to you, follow podcasts, read the latest research, and attend lectures. Massachusetts and Boston government offices, such as the Supplier Diversity Office and Small Business Administration, provide services that can enrich your business. Online business resources offer free workshops, coaching, and more.

Find Resources

Economic Development Newsletter

Allston-Brighton businesses, their employees, and Harvard Ed Portal members can receive first-access to Harvard Ed Portal programs and opportunities through the Economic Development monthly newsletter. Also included in the newsletter are articles, media, and events featuring Harvard faculty and guests that will help you keep current on recent research, analysis, and issues in the business world.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Past Newsletter Issues

Economic Development Partners

Faculty Speaker Economic Development

Harvard Partners

Working with University partners to provide the tools, connections, and resources to help Allston-Brighton neighborhood businesses grow.

See the list

Local business networking

Community Partners

Collaborating with Allston-Brighton partners ensures the vibrancy of the Western Avenue commercial district as a neighborhood where businesses thrive.

See the list


Harvard Partners

  • Harvard Extension School

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Harvard Athletics

  • Harvard University Human Resources

  • Harvard University Strategic Procurement Department, Supplier Diversity Program

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Community Partners

  • Action for Boston Community Development
  • Allston Brighton Adult Education Coalition
  • Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation
  • Allston Board of Trade
  • Allston Civic Association
  • Brighton Board of Trade
  • Harvard Business Publishing
  • SCORE Boston
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