Women and Minority-Owned Business Assistance

One on One Consulting

The Economic Development Division offers business development services to Cambridge small businesses. Staff assist businesses from many business sectors, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Click here for information on the City of Cambridge's purchasing policies and vendor registration.

Cambridge Business Diversity Directory

The Cambridge Business Diversity Directory lists businesses and entities owned by women or minorities, including people of color, LGBTQ+ owners, veterans, persons with disabilities, and business owners of Portuguese decent. These categories align with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office, which certifies diverse businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Businesses and entities do not need to be state certified to be listed in the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory.

The Cambridge Business Diversity Directory is intended to celebrate and highlight the diverse independent and locally-owned small businesses, entities, and sole proprietors whose place of business is in Cambridge. Starting in May 2020, the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory now includes non-profit entities offering goods and services for a fee to the public. 

Entry in the directory is free and determined by eligibility criteria.

The 2021 Cambridge Business Diversity Directory is now available.

The 2021 Cambridge Business Diversity Directory is now available as a digital PDF document as well as an online searchable database, making it even easier to find and support the diverse small businesses of Cambridge.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the 2021 edition of the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory.

Click here to access a searchable database of entries from the 2021 Cambridge Business Diversity Directory. Business name, category, keyword, and ownership type (woman-owned, minority-owned, LGBTQ+ - owned, veteran-owned, disabled-owned, or Portuguese decent-owned) are all searchable fields. 

At the direction of CDD, the 2021 Cambridge Business Diversity Directory was marketed and updated by the staff of Cambridge Local First (CLF), a non-profit network of 450+ local and independent businesses in Cambridge. 

List Your Business in the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory

The Economic Development Division collects information about Cambridge’s diverse businesses on an ongoing basis. If your business meets the eligibility requirements please contact staff in the Economic Development Division for information about how to enroll in the upcoming edition of the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory. 

State Supplier and Diversity Office (SDO)

Each year state agencies purchase millions of dollars worth of products and services from businesses certified as women or minority-owned. To participate in these opportunities, each business must be certified through the State’s Supplier and Diversity Office (SDO). Certification is given to businesses that are at least 51% women or minority-owned. To learn more about this certification process at a free information session given by SDO please go to their website by clicking here. The information session will present the requirements for state certification of minority (MBE) and women business enterprises (WBE) and discuss the guidelines for the US Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program.

The Commonwealth's Supplier Diversity Program (SDP) includes the following designations: Minority (MBE), Women (WBE), Service-Disabled Veteran (SDVOBE), Veteran (VBE), Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender (LGBTQ), Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE), and Portuguese-Owned Businesses (PBE). To learn more about these certifications, click here.

The state also has a Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP). Learn about the goals and benefits of the SBPP and how to apply to be a program participant here.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

You may take for granted that your company is a "small business." The distinction is important if you wish to register for federal contracts as a small business. To learn about how to certify your business as a small business and other federal contract opportunities, click here.

Local Vendor Fair

Every year the Community Development Department hosts a Local Vendor Fair, a networking opportunity for independent and small businesses who are women-owned and minority-owned. Purchasing department representatives from area institutions, universities, and large companies will be in attendance to share information about their contracting needs and purchasing policies. Representatives from the City of Cambridge and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) will also be on hand to answer questions. 

Event planning for the 2020 Local Vendor Fair is underway. Registration and event details will be posted in the near future.

For More Information

If you have questions about the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory of state certification, contact Rona Abrahams at rabrahams@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4637.