Member Spotlight — Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cambridge Local First
What are CLF's guiding values?
We're working towards a thriving local economy for all.
CLF is a non-profit network of 500+ locally-owned, independent businesses in the Cambridge area. We work to support and promote a thriving, equitable local economy.
What ongoing services do you provide?
We engage in educational programming, offer direct technical support to local businesses, and engage in policy advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
What emoji would CLF be and why?
🙌 Raising Hands, because we celebrate the successes of our cherished businesses
Which COVID-era accomplishment are you most proud of?
We are proud of creating a Resilient Local Economies national internship program, which has engaged over 80 students since it was first launched in the summer of 2020!
What upcoming projects, initiatives, or events do you want others to know about?
- Spring internship (February-April 2023)
- Move Your Money Campaign (April 2023)
- Procurement Fair (tentative, April or May 2023)
Please share a recent story/event that embodies CLF's work.
Despite the crucial role local businesses play in job creation and community building, owning and operating a local business is more difficult than ever.
Since the late 1970s, we have seen a national decline in the formation of new businesses. For decades, the smallest of small businesses have faced growing existential threats, including corporate concentration, rising commercial rents, and challenges accessing capital. Businesses owned by people of color, but especially Black-owned businesses experience these barriers to an even greater degree.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a host of new challenges and exacerbated existing ones. The most impacted businesses included Black-owned businesses, BIPOC-owned businesses, micro businesses and other businesses in disproportionately impacted sectors. This report summarizes internal data and secondary reports to illustrate how small businesses in Cambridge – especially locally-owned and operated enterprises – were impacted by the pandemic, and where they stand almost three years later.
Cambridge Local First is committed to supporting locally- and independently-owned businesses in Cambridge by engaging with, and informing, our community. This first-ever State of Small Business Report helps us to better understand the short-term and long-term challenges facing our local businesses, and some solutions.
The report is intended, in part, as an avenue for businesses to voice their concerns directly, and for partner organizations to engage with these issues. We have developed in the hope that it can be leveraged to build a more resilient and sustainable local economy here in Cambridge.