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.
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.
Doing Business During Covid
The COVID-19 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 pandemic.
See also updated guidance on hosting public events.
Financial Resources for Businesses
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
General Resources for Businesses
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 email@example.com. 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.
Real Estate Development
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.
This program helps property owners minimize the uncertainties of contamination often associated with underutilized properties known as brownfields.
The City of Somerville seeks qualified, creative proposals for the redevelopment of these two City-owned properties.
Whether you're just getting started, looking to expand your business, improve its appearance, or simply get advice on best practice
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...
Frequently Asked Questions
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
What programs are available for my business?
When will I get my check after I have completed my loan application?
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.
When are the Business Town Halls and how do I sign up?
Sign up for the upcoming business town hall here
What happens when I have a COVID case among my employees?
Contact Director of Health and Human Services Doug Kress at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
How can I renew my licenses & permits for my business?
- 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.
What is the most up-to-date guidance on reopening my business?
With COVID-19-related restrictions being lifted starting on May 29th, am I required to open up to 100% capacity?
While businesses are allowed to open to 100% capacity as of May 29th, businesses may continue to limit capacity at their discretion.
Will I need to get new outdoor dining layouts approved before increasing my capacity outdoors?
- 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.
Is outdoor seating still allowed?
- Yes, as long as you have an approved outdoor seating license.
Can I change my outdoor seating footprint?
- 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.
How long will the City allow for parklets and outdoor seating to exist?
- 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.
If I need to speak with someone about amending my outdoor dining license, whom do I contact?
Am I allowed to continue to require customers to wear masks at my business?
- 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.
Since masking will still be required in some public places and when social distancing is not possible, what are some suggestions for how to deal with customers who resist complying with the guidelines?
Where do I find information on COVID-19 vaccinations?
Are fees to use public parking spaces for my outdoor patio continuing to be waived after May 29th?
- Yes at this time, the fees for using public parking spaces will continue to be waived.
Will I be able to seat customers at the bar less than 6 ft apart and without plastic barriers?
- Yes, as of May 29th, 6 ft distancing is not required for indoor seating.
Does the Board of Health Require posting mask guidance?