About the Economic Development Division

Somerville is known as a city of makers, where the elements of creativity combined with the know-how of an industrial past generates a culture of invention like no other.

We are committed to fostering the growth of a resilient economic base, creating good jobs, supporting strategic workforce development, and securing fiscal self-sufficiency for the City. Economic Development provides assistance to existing and emerging businesses, implements workforce development initiatives, and supports the redevelopment and enhancement of specific areas through infrastructure improvements and Brownfield cleanup projects. We actively develop areas in the City to promote the growth of industry clusters and innovation.

Please sign up for our business email alerts. You may also follow us on Instagram @SomervilleBusinesses or contact us directly at economicdevelopment@somervillema.gov.

  • Directives

  • Doing Business During Covid

  • Workforce Development

  • Real Estate Development

  • Business Development

  • Frequently Asked Questions

Workforce Development

The Economic Development Division implements initiatives related to Workforce and Talent Development, including specific programs like BuildCorps, policies like the jobs linkage fee, and strategic work like the Workforce Development Strategic Plan.

Business Development

The Economic Development Division provides numerous resources to different kinds of Somerville-based businesses. These include Assistance for Businesses–namely, Small Business Support program, and technical assistance events–as well as targeted support for businesses working in the Innovation Economy.

Anyone doing business in Somerville will work with a variety of City departments, but we try to make the process as streamlined and easy-to-understand as possible. For more information about doing business in the City, click here.

Real Estate Development

Brownfields are a specialty for the Economic Development Division. We help property owners turn their vision into reality on polluted sites through targeted financial support.

On Saturday, May 29, remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in accordance with State guidelines.

The Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the required social distancing precautions have had a big impact on Somerville businesses. We understand the stress that our entrepreneurs, workers, and freelancers are under given the uncertainty of the situation and the level of disruption to daily life.

This section aims to help businesses access resources, information, and support while operating their businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

See also “What’s Open, Closed, and OK?” and updated guidance on hosting public events.

View our financial resources for businesses page. This includes:

  • Federal Small Business Administration Relief Options
  • State Resources
  • National Financial Resources
  • City COVID-19 Financial Resources

This page contains a host of resources for businesses facing coronavirus disruptions including access to pro bono legal support, tax relief information, posters and fact sheets in multiple languages to help inform customers about good hygiene, and other general informational resources for businesses.

Para mas información en Español sobre todos los recursos disponibles para los pequeños negocios en Somerville, por favor contacte a Daniela Carrillo de la Oficina de Economic Development en dcarrillo@somervillema.gov. También puede contactarnos al (617) 625 6600 ext. 2546.

Para obter uma cópia deste panfleto em Português, entrar em contato com 617-666-3311 ou por e-mail SomerVivaPort@SomervilleMA.gov.

Pou yon kopi infòmasyon sa an Kreyòl Ayisyen, tanpri rele 617-666-3311 oubyen voye on email nan: SomerViv@SomervilleMA.gov.

Our goals are to make Somerville a regional employment center with a mix of diverse and high-quality jobs, support a business-friendly environment to attract and retain a diverse mix of businesses, and invest in the talents, skills, and education of people to support growth and provide opportunities to residents of all social and economic levels.

The Office of Strategic Planning & Community Development works to ensure that new development in Somerville works to achieve the goals set in SomerVision. These goals include the creation of 30,000 new jobs, 6,000 new housing units, 125 acres of publicly accessible open space, and other goals related to transportation, development, and preserving neighborhood character. Real estate development is one important tool for achieving these goals.

View of the 67-acre abandoned industrial zone, or brownfield, before Assembly Square development.

This program helps property owners minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with underutilized properties known as brownfields.

Sign reads 'Open'

Whether you're just getting started, looking to expand your business, improve its appearance, or simply get advice on best practice

Storefront for Daddy Jones' Bar in Magoun Sq., Somerville

The Economic Development Department works with businesses of all sizes and types to support their growth and success in Somerville.

In Somerville, we like to say that while others have innovation districts, we are the Innovation City. That innovation is backed by know-how and...

This section provides easy access to frequently asked questions for businesses. It is organized by general questions and answers for businesses and questions related to reopening guidelines. 

General Business Questions

After all loan agreement documentation has been completed and confirmed to be accurate, it will take approximately 6-8 weeks for a check to be processed and mailed. With recent mail disruptions and an increase in the financial need, checks may take longer than 8 weeks to process. If you have not received your check 8 weeks after submitting completed documentation, please contact your loan officer via email. 

 

Reopening Questions

Contact Director of Health and Human Services Doug Kress at dkress@somervillema.gov as soon as you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 among your employees. The employee should stay home and follow guidance from their health practitioner.

  • To apply or renew business licenses and permits, visit the City's CitizenServe web portal. You’ll need to sign in to your account or create one if you don’t have one already. 
  • Many Licenses from the City Clerk’s office are available online.

Somerville will align with the state's reopening plan starting May 29th. More details available here.

While businesses are allowed to open to 100% capacity as of May 29th, businesses may continue to limit capacity at their discretion.

  • Yes, for restaurants with an existing outdoor seating license, in order to increase seating capacity outdoors, restaurant owners will need to apply for an outdoor dining license amendment with the Licensing Commission. 
  • For indoor dining, beginning on May 29th, businesses may revert to 100% indoor capacity according to their pre-COVID business permit.
  • Yes, as long as you have an approved outdoor seating license. 
  • If you would like to change your outdoor seating footprint, you will need to amend your outdoor seating license through the licensing commission. Here are the steps.
  • As of today, the last day for approved outdoor seating is August 15th. The State is currently reviewing options to extend that deadline. Check back here for more information.
  • Businesses may, at their discretion, continue to require face coverings. 
  • All businesses must post a sign at their entrances with mask guidance
  • Beginning on May 29th, face coverings will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals for most businesses, with the exception of public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations), healthcare facilities, and other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings where they will continue to be mandatory. Face coverings will also remain required indoors for staff and students of K-12 schools and early education providers.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals are advised to continue wearing face masks and to continue distancing in most settings.
  • Yes at this time, the fees for using public parking spaces will continue to be waived.
  • Yes, as of May 29th, 6 ft distancing is not required for indoor seating.