Union Square Main Streets can provide you with one-on-one assistance to starting or growing your business in Union Square.
From finding the right location to understanding the local market, from introductions to the neighbors to plugging into all the opportunities of Somerville, your success is our success.
City of Somerville
- How to Start a Business: Includes information on budget, location, finances, permitting, and more to assist business owners who are looking to open a business in Somerville.
- Commercial Property Improvement Program (CPIP): Provides to businesses and commercial property owners design and financial support in the renovation or restoration of commercial building facades. The CPIP is part of a strategy to revitalize key eligible business districts in Somerville by improving the exterior appearance and appeal of commercial shops while also enhancing the urban realm.
- Economic Gardening: In partnership with Good Egg Marketing, a Boston-based marketing firm, the program will target Stage II Somerville businesses looking to grow. A Stage II business is one with between 10 and 100 full-time employees and over $1 million in annual revenue. This technical assistance will include a marketing audit; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis; a marketing plan, and further business plan analysis and recommendations if needed.
- SiteFinder: Helps you find the right location for your business in Somerville. Find a list below of available commercial property in Somerville and relative information to factor your decision, including location, asking price and square-footage, along with a direct link to the listing broker.
Business Development & Support
- Nibble Entrepreneurship Program (Somerville Arts Council): These culinary training programs work directly with immigrants to assist them in exploring a culinary career and testing a food business idea. For more information, contact Rachel Strutt at email@example.com or 617.625.6600, x 2985.
- Boston SCORE: Offers free counseling and mentoring to those looking to start or grow a business and free and low-cost workshops on a variety of topics.
- Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE): Represents thousands of communities and conveners, entrepreneurs, investors and funders who are defying business as usual. Its mission is to create local economies that work for all.
- Center for Women in Enterprise: Provides education and technical support for female business owners.
- Commercial Leases 101, By Harvard Law School (Transactional Law Clinics): This toolkit will provide an explanation of common provisions in commercial leases and how to interpret and apply these provisions, and recommend provisions that commerical tenants may try to include when negotiating a new commerical lease.
- Interise: For established businesses seeking to grow.
- Kirstein Business Library: Branch of the Boston Public Library focused on the needs of businesses.
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice: Provides legal support and free events for small businesses.
- LoopNet: Search commercial real estate for sale and lease. Find your next investment property, office space, land or industrial space. Learn the trends in commercial rents.
- Massachusetts Small Business Development Center: Provides free, one-to-one business assistance and free or low-cost training programs to prospective and existing small businesses.
- SCORE: Retired Executives provide one-on-one mentoring.
- U.S. Small Business Administration: The SBA provides regular trainings, workshops, and other resources to small businesses throughout the nation. There is a regional office and a Boston district office for even more targeted support.
- First Source Jobs Program: Assist participants to improve their skills as job seekers and, consequently, be more successful in their job search. Somerville residents, who enroll in the program, will receive support in all aspects of job seeking, including help establishing individual career plans; job readiness workshops; access to a comprehensive, constantly updated comprehensive list of job openings in the City, and job placement and post-placement follow-up. For more information, contact Blake Roberts Crall, 617.410.9902, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Massachusetts Health Connector: Commonwealth's health insurance Marketplace, providing individuals, families, and small business with access to coverage. Small businesses with fewer than fifty (50) full-time employees are qualified to apply for insurance. Call
1-877-MA-ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) for assistance.
Coworking & Incubator Space
- Artisans Asylum | 10 Tyler Street
Artisan’s Asylum, Inc., a non-profit community fabrication center located in Somerville, Massachusetts. Our mission is to support and promote the teaching, learning and practice of fabrication.
- Brooklyn Boulders | 12A Tyler Street
Membership at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville includes access to co-working spaces with complimentary Wi-Fi, 28,000 square feet of climbing walls, climbing and fitness classes, cardio and strength equipment, saunas, showers, lockers and more. Members receive additional perks such invitations to exclusive events and early access to featured programming.
- Canopy City | 14 Tyler Street, 2nd and 3rd floor:
Canopy’s local, national and international network of entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, technologists, academics, top corporations and talented service providers can get you connected like no other space.
- Foundation Kitchen | 3 Washington Street
Foundation Kitchen is two shared commercial kitchens in Somerville, MA– licensed and fully equipped for use by culinary businesses, cooking classes, events, and pop-ups. Members include food truck operators, small to mid-size caterers, spice and sauce makers, coffee and tea caterers, ethnic cooking classes, and much more!
- Greentown Labs | 28 Dane Street
Greentown Labs offers 33,000 sq. ft. of prototyping lab and co-working space, a shared machine shop, and an electronics shop. Members of Greentown are immersed in a growing network of local, national and international cleantech resources and fellow entrepreneurs. Greentown hosts more than 150 events and 10,000+ visitors every year, and those numbers continue to climb.
- Workbar Union | 31 Union Square
Workbar Union, hosted by US2, offers coworking and community in the heart of Union Square, Somerville. With open workspaces, comfortable lounges, local art, and regular events, Workbar Union is a destination and resource for Somerville’s entrepreneurs, independent professionals, and small businesses. Please contact Kelly Seyfarth for more information at email@example.com or 617-996-8255.
- Direct Install for Small Business (Mass Save): Eversource provides eligible business customers a free energy audit of their facility by Mass Save. The audit will identify energy saving opportunities, and potentially pay for up to 70% of the total cost for retrofitting qualified lighting and mechanical systems. Gas measures will also be addressed. For further information and other small business incentives, please visit Mass Save's website for businesses.
- Disabled Access Credit (U.S. Government): The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit for small businesses that incur expenditures for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities. An eligible small business is one that that earned $1 million or less or had no more than 30 full time employees in the previous year; they may take the credit each and every year they incur access expenditures. Refer to Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit (PDF), for information about eligible expenditures. Additional information can be found by visiting the American with Disabilities Act websiteor calling the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or TTY 800-514-0383.
- Barrier Removal Tax Deduction (U.S. Government): The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction encourages businesses of any size to remove architectural and transportation barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities and the elderly. Businesses may claim a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses for items that normally must be capitalized. Businesses may use the Disabled Tax Credit and the architectural/transportation tax deduction together in the same tax year, if the expenses meet the requirements of both sections. For further information, contact the Internal Revenue Service. Additional information can be found by visiting the American with Disabilities Act website or calling the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or TTY 800-514-0383.
- Federal Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties (U.S. Government): Federal historic preservation tax incentives are available for any qualified project that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure. For more information, please visit the National Park Service’s website.
- KIVA: A site for people all over the world seeking small loans to start their own businesses. The loans typically back individual economic activity to help alleviate poverty through support for entrepreneurial ventures in places where other sources of funding are hard to come by.
- Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (Commonwealth of Massachusetts): The Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax allows the certified rehabilitation of an income-producing property to receive up to 20% of the cost of certified rehabilitation expenditures in state tax credit. For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s website.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (U.S. Government): The SBA offers many loan programs; the 7a loans and the CDC/504 loans have been useful to a number of business in Somerville. If you are looking to purchase a building or fixed equipment for your business, these loans can provide SBA-guaranteed loans that will drastically reduce the financing costs.
Marketing & Event Listings
- Social Media Marketing Tips, By Maria Carras Creative: From Instagram to Facebook to Email, learn the best practices to social media marketing and apply it to your specific business. You will gain followers quickly and get the word out about your business.
- Off The Beaten Path Food Tours: A new company whose mission it is to highlight local restaurants and neighborhoods including their food and history by taking groups of guests on a walking adventure weekly. They currently offer a Union Square Food Tour which is a guided 2.5 hour walk on Saturdays at Sundays at 2pm. The company was started in 2017 by a Somerville couple, Lizzie and Sam, and also run tours in other neighborhoods including Davis Square, Harvard Square, and JP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Networking and Advocacy
- Somerville Local First: Supports locally owned and independent businesses in the City by managing marketing campaigns to support local businesses, providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs, and connecting business owners to each other.
- Somerville Chamber of Commerce: Networking and advocacy for Somerville businesses.
- Somerville Community Corporation: Dedicated to empowering residents to sustain a a diverse and affordable Somerville, Massachusetts.
- Apex Green Roofs: a professional green roof design, install and maintenance firm with more than 8 years of service in the emerging vegetated roof industry and over 80 green roof installs of intensive and extensive green roof systems.
- CERES: A sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses.
- Eversource: Business Energy Saving Facts: Tools, tips, and suggestions can help you get a handle on electricity usage in your business, conserve energy and save money as well as provide improved comfort and safety.
- Green City Growers: Install and maintain urban farms & vegetable gardens in Boston while teaching clients how to grow food using their own backyards or rooftops.
- Mass Department of Environmental Protection: Responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
- Mass Recycle: Statewide 501c3 nonprofit coalition dedicated to increasing recycling and waste reduction in Massachusetts.
- Metro Pedal Power: Exploring opportunities to replace trucks and vans with bikes and pedal-powered vehicles in the congested areas of the city.
- Recover Green Roofs: A design-build firm specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of green roofs, rooftop farms, roof decks & terraces. We work on commercial, residential, and institutional buildings in Boston, New England, and beyond.
- Sustainable Business Leader Program: In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP) is a practical and affordable certification program that helps businesses “green” their operations and practices while saving valuable natural resources and money.
- Somerville Climate Action: A grass-roots collaborative working for a safe and stable climate while helping to build a resilient, just, and sustainable community. We are focused on transitioning FROM fossil fuel dependence, ecological degradation, economic instability and social disconnection TO low carbon lifestyles, ecosystem restoration, a local living economy and a vital close-knit community.
ADA & Accessibility Information
- ADA Business Connection: Explains the Americans With Disabilities Act, and gives resources for technical assistance to businesses.
- ADA Guide for Small Businesses: Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008.
- ADA Streaming Video Gallery: Video of 10 Small Business Mistakes is 13-minute video that identifies common mistakes that small businesses make when trying to comply with the ADA.
- “Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities”: Fully accessible interactive online course that explains the ADA and how it applies to businesses in ten lessons.