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 owned by women or minorities, including people of color, veterans, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ owners, and business owners of Portuguese descent. The City uses the same categories for women-owned and minority-owned businesses as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) Supplier Diversity Program. Businesses do not need to be state certified to be listed in the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory.

The Directory is intended to celebrate and highlight the diverse independent or locally-owned small businesses and sole proprietors whose place of business is in Cambridge. It serves as a marketing and networking tool connecting women-owned and minority-owned businesses with large and small companies and institutions looking for opportunities to work with this specific business community.

Entry in the Diversity Directory is free and determined by eligibility criteria.

Click here to access the most recent digital copy of the City of Cambridge Business Diversity Directory

List Your Women-Owned or Minority-Owned Business in the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory

The Economic Development Division collects information about Cambridge’s women-owned and minority-owned businesses on an ongoing basis. If your business is eligible please complete the Business Questionnaire below and return it to the Economic Development Division for inclusion in the next updated version of the Directory.

Go to the Diversity Directory Business Questionnaire

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. 

Attend the 2019 Local Vendor Fair on Tuesday, May 7, 9:30-11:30a.m. at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. Details and registration.

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.