Betsy Cowan

Economic Development Manager - Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Former Neighborhood Business Manager - City of Boston, MA

Boston, MA

Betsy Cowan is passionate about building the entrepreneurial capacity of the public sector and brings a range of experience in the public and non-profit sectors domestically and internationally. She recently joined the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston, MA to lead their Economic Development Division. Her work focuses on building the economic development capacity of the 101 local communities in their portfolio, with economic equity as a key priority. This includes sharing insights to inform the agency’s legislative priorities at the state and federal level, as well as managing the provision of technical assistance to municipalities at the local level. Betsy and her team partner with cities and towns to conduct market analyses; design economic development plans and Master Plans in partnership with other MAPC divisions; and implement strategies to promote smart growth objectives. Betsy and her team are also building the work of MAPC in the areas of workforce development and small business development.

Prior to joining the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Betsy worked at the Office of Economic Development at the City of Boston leading the small business technical assistance program and advising on small business policy and programming decisions. Her work included the design of assistance tools and initiatives for over 3000 businesses annually and the development of the City of Boston Small Business Plan, a 5-year strategic plan for the City and its partners to serve the 40,000 businesses in Boston.

Before working for the City of Boston, Betsy was the Executive Director of Egleston Square Main Street, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the commercial corridor in the Egleston Square neighborhood of Boston. Her work in Egleston built on her years of experience in community economic development and microfinance in Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

Betsy holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the Universidad de Chile and a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Chile. She is also a trained English-Spanish interpreter and translator and is trained in mediation/conflict resolution techniques.

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