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Program Applications Open Now; Review Will Begin July 1

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Funds are limited. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as funding allows. 

About the Program

The City of Somerville’s Business Enrichment Program offers help to small businesses. They can get up to 15 hours of free technical support. After the completion of the program requirements, small businesses can unlock a grant for equipment or infrastructure improvement for their businesses. 

Technical support areas include restaurant operations, business planning and strategy, legal and contractual matters, banking and financial management, and website creation and evaluation. 

After filling out the applications, small businesses will be connected with a technical assistance provider and allocated up to 15 hours of technical support. Upon completion of technical assistance hours, small businesses can unlock the opportunity for an equipment or infrastructure grant. Completion of the technical assistance hours must be done within 30 days once assigned.  

Brick and Mortar businesses can receive up to $12,000 for equipment or infrastructure improvement for their businesses. Home-based businesses can receive up to $2,500 for equipment or infrastructure improvement for their businesses. To receive the funding for the grant, small businesses must submit supporting documentation and receive approval for the equipment or infrastructure improvement. Approved uses of grant funding are as below:

Eligibility requirements:

  • Small business must be located in Somerville, MA 
  • Small business must have 10 or fewer full-time employees
  • Must be able to provide W9 for small business
  • Must be able to provide either city or state business licenses 
  • Must be operational within the last 6 months (may require additional verification)
  • May have to provide additional documentation as requested 

Depending on program popularity, priority points may be used as criteria for program participation. Priority points for brick-and-mortar businesses will be given for Somerville based residents (1 points), those who have never received City funding previously (2 points), if this is the only business location (1 point), those with 5 or fewer full-time employees (1 points) and diverse ownership (Immigrant-owned/women-owned/black, indigenous, people of color–owned (BIPOC)/ veteran owned/lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQIA)-owned/disability-owned business enterprises) (1 point). (Updated June 6th, 2024) 

If you have any questions, please reach out to or call (774) 448 – 5074.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the areas available for technical assistance?

Restaurant Operations, Business Planning and Strategy, Legal and Contractual Matters, Banking and Financial Management, and Website Creation and Evaluation.

Who will be providing technical assistance?

The providers are contracted through iParametrics, the city’s partner on this project.

Is there language capacity?

Technical assistance can be provided in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Other languages may be supported on a case-by-case basis. 

Are there eligibility requirements?
  • Somerville-based business
  • 10 or fewer full-time employees
  • Must be able to provide:
    • W9 for small business
    • Either city or state business licenses
  • Business must already be operational (may require verification)
Am I allowed to have assistance with me for the technical assistance?

Yes, you are allowed to have more than one person on the technical assistance calls (ex. Family members, business partners, interpreters). However, please keep in mind scheduling concerns.

How is completion of technical assistance hours verified?

Technical assistance providers will sign off upon completion of technical assistance assigned hours.

Once I am done with the technical assistance hours, how do I unlock the equipment and infrastructure grant?

Once technical assistance providers sign off on the completion of hours, the equipment and infrastructure grant will be unlocked. You will be contacted about next steps.

What am I allowed to use the equipment grant funding for?

Funding is allowed to be used for: equipment, software, repairs, facade improvements (please note physical changes and signages may require site plans approvals and permits), point of sale systems, childcare curriculums. Funding may not be used for payroll, operating costs, or overhead costs

How will participants be chosen?

Participants must submit an application and all relevant documentation. Depending on program interest, priority points may be applied. Points for brick-and-mortar businesses will be awarded based on: Somerville residency (1 point), size of staff (1 point), number of business locations (1 point), has not had previous receipt of city funding (1 point), and diversity of ownership: immigrant-owned, women-owned, black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQIA+ owned, disability-owned (1 point). Points for home-based businesses will be awarded based on: childcare business (2 points), arts and creative businesses (1 point), operating expenses below $100,000 revenue (1 point), not received funding previously (1 point), located in qualified census track (1 point), and diversity of ownership: immigrant-owned, women-owned, black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQIA+ owned, disability-owned (1 point). Time of application will be used as a tiebreaker if necessary due to a lack of funding.

What are the grant amounts?

After completing the allotted number of technical assistance hours, business are eligible to receive up to $12,000 for brick-and-mortar businesses, and up to $2,500 for home-based businesses.

What is the timeline of the program?

Applications open on June 17, 2024 and application review will begin on July 1, 2024. Applications will be accepted until the program reaches capacity. Awardees will have 7 days to confirm with their technical service provider, and once confirmed, program participants will have 30 days to complete their technical assistance training. After confirmation of completion of training, participants will be able to unlock the equipment and infrastructure grant.

When does this program end?

All program allocations must be completed by September 30, 2024 or before.

I received the New Small Business Vitality Grant, am I eligible for this program as well?

No, businesses who received the New Small Business Vitality Grant are ineligible to receive this grant. However, if you applied for but did not receive the Vitality Grant, you are eligible to apply for this program.

Can I receive technical assistance in more than one area?

No, each recipient will receive technical assistance in only one area that will be based off of their application.

Will this be a recurring program from the city?

As of now, the city has allocated funding for one cycle of this program.

Are any businesses ineligible to receive funding?

Yes. Ineligible business categories are: Franchises, liquor stores, financial/lending institutions, private membership or fraternal organization businesses, adult oriented businesses, national/regional chain businesses, bars (if more than 50% of revenue is from alcohol), nightclubs, vape shops, hemp shops, cannabis shops, and businesses owned in part or full by a City of Somerville employee or family member of those individuals. Nonprofit organizations are also ineligible.

Are brick-and-mortar and home-based businesses scored in the same way?

No, there are different sets of priority points for brick-and-mortar businesses versus homebased businesses.

Do I have to provide proof of spending to receive payment for the equipment and infrastructure grant?

The businesses must provide at least two bids to the grantor before approval will be given. Purchases made within the past 6 months can be reimbursed with these funds if appropriate documentation is provided.

How many items can I purchase with the equipment and infrastructure grant?

The grant funding will only cover one purchase, receipt, or invoice.

Can I recommend my own technical assistance provider(s)?

No. All technical assistance providers will come through iParametrics.

Business Enrichment Program Demo 2024


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