Business Development Resources

Below are links to Business Development resources on technical assistance, tax incentives, and workforce development, as well as partner organizations.

Starting a new business can be an exciting and rewarding process. Be sure to download the Massachusetts Office of Business Development's guide, How to Start a Small Business.

Table of Contents

Technical Assistance Providers

  • Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation Small Business Technical Assistance - This network of small business support organizations receive grant support for the work they do to provide hands-on assistance to small business, ranging from translations services and entrepreneurial training to business plan development and operations management. Best suited to Main Street type businesses, including retail, food service, personal services, professional services, and others.
  • Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) provides free and confidential one-to-one business advice focusing on, business growth and strategies, financing and loan assistance as well as strategic, marketing and operational analysis. In addition, low-cost educational training programs are offered across the state targeted to the needs of small business.
  • SCORE is the nation’s largest network of free, expert business mentors, is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide.
  • Center for Woman and Enterprise provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs and women in business to increase professional success, personal growth, and financial Independence.
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. The VBOC of New England is operated by the Center for Women & Enterprise who offer quality classes, programs and services to those who want to start and grow their business.
  • Small Business Strong a non-profit organization empowered to help women and minority owned small businesses by providing expedited, pro-bono resources ranging from access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans.

Tax Incentive Programs

  • Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program - Participating companies may apply for state and local tax incentives in exchange for full time job creation, job retention and private investment commitments. Companies can also request local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreements with specific municipalities.  
  • Massachusetts Vacant Storefronts Program - This competitive program helps municipalities revitalize their downtowns and commercial areas.  Municipalities may apply to the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) for certification to designate a defined downtown or other commercial area, as a Certified Vacant Storefront District. After achieving the designation, as well as a commitment of local matching funds, businesses or individuals may apply to the EACC for refundable Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) tax credits for leasing and occupying a vacant storefront in that district. The amount of tax credits awarded will match municipal support and may be up to $10,000 in refundable tax credits.
  • Life Sciences Tax Incentive ProgramAwarding up to $25 million in tax incentives each year, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center provides tax incentives to Massachusetts-based companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization and manufacturing.
  • 3% Manufacturers Investment Tax Credit - A company is eligible to claim a 3% ITC on depreciable assets as a DOR registered manufacturer. Manufacturing entities most likely will be eligible to take advantage of the 3% Investment Tax Credit. The credit is calculated by computing 3% of the total capital investment in qualified equipment and facility leasehold improvements. This amount can be applied directly against any Massachusetts tax obligation. The maximum amount of credits, otherwise allowable in any one taxable year to a corporation, may not exceed fifty per cent of its excise. A corporation may carry over and apply to its excise for one or more of the next succeeding three taxable years the portion of those credits, as reduced from year to year.
  • 10% Research & Development Tax Credit - Massachusetts has a 10% R&D Tax Credit, and the % can increase with collaboration with a local college or university. In Massachusetts, any costs which would qualify for the Federal R&D tax credit are eligible for a 10% R&D Tax Credit. This credit can be used in addition to Investment Tax Credits. Further, a 15% R&D Tax Credit is available for costs related to donations and contributions made to research organizations such as hospitals and universities. The R&D credit is permanent but cannot reduce a corporation’s tax liability below the minimum of $456 and cannot reduce any tax liability over $25,000 by more than 75%. However, a corporation may carry forward for an unlimited period of time any portion of the R&D credit which cannot be allowed in a particular tax year because of this limit. 
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemption: Materials, tools, fuel, machinery and replacement parts used in manufacturing and research and development may qualify for exemption from sales and use taxes.
  • Single Sales Tax Treatment: Massachusetts single weights sales when assessing apportionment taxes for manufacturers. The single sales factor apportionment is the ratio of Massachusetts sales to overall sales. Net income subject to Massachusetts tax is determined by multiplying overall net income by the apportionment factor. Many other states use three-factor apportionment which weighs the state sales, property and payroll as a percent of overall sales, property and payroll. This is advantageous for companies with significant property and employees, as it won’t be a factor in determining the amount of tax. Additionally, this provision does not penalize companies for continual investment in the business or for hiring more employees.

Workforce Development

  • MassHire Career Centers can assist your company with the recruiting, screening, and training of new staff.
  • HireNow will help employers quickly hire and train new workers and get more people back to work. The new program provides eligible employers with a $4,000 per employee grant, which can be used to cover training costs or as a signing bonus for new employees. Employers can learn more about the program and apply at www.mass.gov/hirenow.
  • Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) was established as a non-profit in 1996 to provide manufacturing workforce training & operational improvements. MassMEP creates economic impact by transforming manufacturing enterprises and the manufacturing ecosystem. This is achieved through providing operational workforce development strategies and innovative growth initiatives, enhanced through leveraging strategic public/private relationships. 
  • Workshare Program allows workers in an entire company, a company department, or even a small unit within the company, to share reduced work hours while also collecting unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their reduced wages.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit - Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.
  • Workforce Training Grant, Commonwealth Corporation
    • General Grant up to $250k
    • Express Grant funds are limited to $30,000 per company per calendar year and $3,000 per employee per course.
    • Small Business Direct Access Program addresses smaller-scale training needs by making training slots in popular topics available, free of charge, to eligible businesses. A business may access up to $15,000 in grant funds per calendar year through the Massachusetts Training Exchange
  • Safety Training Grant, Division of Industrial Accidents up to $25K - Promotes safe and healthy conditions in the workplace by awarding state funds to eligible applicants who submit responses designed to provide and improve safety education and training in Occupational Safety and Health to employers/employees within the Commonwealth covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law (M.G.L. Chapter 152).
  • Free Safety Consultation, Division of Labor & Standards -On-site consultations to businesses to help them recognize and control potential safety and health hazards.

Partner Agencies and Organizations

  • MassBio represents and provides services and support for the MA biotech industry as the nation's oldest biotechnology trade association. Members enjoy a wide range of benefits including networking and educational events, savings through our Purchasing Consortium, business development and entrepreneurial support programs, public policy and advocacy engagement and economic development support. 
  • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits and to secure long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. MassCEC works to increase the adoption of clean energy while driving down costs and delivering financial, environmental, and economic development benefits to energy users and utility customers across the state.
  • MassDevelopment is the state’s finance and development agency. They are committed to achieving three goals: stimulating business, driving economic growth, and helping communities thrive across Massachusetts.They provide low-cost and creative financing options for a range of organizations, sustainably redevelop surplus properties, transform the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities, and promote the Massachusetts manufacturing and defense sectors. 
  • MassEcon - MassEcon's mission is to promote and champion Massachusetts as the best place to start, grow, and locate a business. Built upon a robust network of corporate and civic members, MassEcon convenes public and private sector leaders of industry to create an inclusive business ecosystem that enhances job growth across a diverse talent pool; promotes investment in all communities; expands equitable opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.  
  • Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is a mission based quasi-state agency, providing financing to qualified Massachusetts’ based business owners who are challenged or unable to access traditional bank financing, or require some form of enhancement to their existing banking or lending relationship. MGCC is a cash-flow lender providing term loans and lines of credit. They also have free technical assistance and have funding dedicated to supporting black and brown owned businesses.  
  • Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a state economic development agency supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts. Through public-private funding initiatives, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics, and digital health. 
  • Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp) is a quasi-public agency that was established in 1996 through the merger of two Massachusetts nonprofit organizations: the Industrial Service Program and the Bay State Skills Corporation. The agency is responsible for administering and delivering a wide range of publicly and privately funded programs. CommCorp is governed by a 19-member board of directors that includes leaders from the private sector, organized labor, academia, and government.
  • Mass Tech Collaborative (MTC) helps build strategies, launch projects, and manages programs to support a healthy, vibrant statewide innovation economy. We are active as partners and/or catalysts in many ways beyond our program portfolio; Talent and Workforce, Ecosystem and Industry Support, Healthcare Innovation and Broadband Access. 
  • Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) founded in 1986, MassMEDIC is the largest regional MedTech associations in the United States, with over 300 members representing manufacturers, produce developers, suppliers, research institutions and academic health centers. Over the past 20+ years, the efforts of MassMEDIC and its members have driven industry success and growth in the region, establishing Massachusetts as a world leader in this sector.
  • Massachusetts Export Center provides a broad range of international trade services to Massachusetts businesses throughout the entire export process. The counselors provide in-depth, customized assistance to address challenges unique to exporting firms. They help businesses to assess potential export markets, develop market entry strategies and navigate the technical, regulatory, legal logistical and financial aspects of their export transactions. www.mass.gov/export  
  • Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) facilitates foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Commonwealth, acting as a partner, clearinghouse and connector for international businesses looking to locate, expand or invest in Massachusetts. The business development team can identify the size, scope and industry of your project and connect you to relevant state agencies, business associations and partners. If you are planning to visit Massachusetts to explore opportunities, our office is happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.
  • STEP GrantsHelps offset international business development and related marketing costs for small businesses. The maximum award for STEP Grants is $12,000. 
  • MassVentures is the Commonwealth’s strategic venture capital team. Its mission is to support the state’s innovation economy and economic growth initiatives by helping to transfer research and early-stage innovations to viable technology businesses and jobs. Its focus is finding, funding, and fostering early-stage deep tech.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): is an independent federal agency that works to assist and protect the interests of American small businesses. We administer our programs through district offices throughout the United States and provide additional services through a network of resource partners: Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, U.S. Export Assistance Centers, Women's Business Centers, and Veteran's Business Outreach Centers.  Check out their latest Massachusetts Edition 2020 - Small Business Resource Guide now available online. 
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