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Cambridge's Economic Development Division Gets a New Name

Assistant City Manager for Community Development, Iram Farooq, announced a name change for the Community Development Department's Economic Development Division last week: it will now be the Economic Opportunity and Development Division. The announcement came as part of Farooq’s remarks for Cambridge’s Black Business Month kickoff event.

“The name reflects our ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive and sustainable economy, and uplift entrepreneurs facing systemic barriers such as institutional racism,” Farooq said. “We often think of economic development as being about creating a welcoming environment for large organizations to do business, but it’s really our local businesses—especially our women- and minority-owned businesses—that contribute most to Cambridge’s vitality and cultural fabric.”

The Economic Opportunity and Development Division is committed to building an inclusive and sustainable economy in Cambridge. The division’s new name reflects its mission to create a wide range of activities designed to meet the City’s need for a vibrant, innovative, diverse, and thriving economic base that ensures economic opportunity for all.

“We decided to change the name to more accurately reflect the breadth of programs and services we offer,” said Pardis Saffari, Director of Economic Opportunity and Development. “Our focus is really on supporting small businesses, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs, developing our workforce, and strengthening our commercial districts to enhance the quality of life for all Cambridge residents.”

In addition to the name change, the division has partnered with Griffin & Strong, P.C. to conduct a disparity study. This study, which is currently ongoing, will review whether there are effects of past discrimination that influence the way the City procures goods and services. The study will be used to determine whether a sheltered market program – a way of advancing equity in procurement – can be implemented in Cambridge.

The Economic Opportunity and Development Division offers educational programs such as financial health and literacy assistance, workshops for entrepreneurs, and an intensive 10-week business planning course. Over the past year, the division has awarded thousands of dollars in grants to businesses and associations through the Small Business Enhancement Program, Retail Interior Accessibility Program, Small Business Challenge, and Storefront Improvement Program.

For more information about the division, visit www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/economicopportunityanddevelopment.

 
Page was posted on 8/8/2022 7:18 PM
Page was last modified on 8/9/2022 9:30 AM
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