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5 business lists and databases to use for market research

Online business databases can be an effective and low-cost way to identify other companies in your market – whether as potential suppliers, competitors or potential customers. Such datasets are often only a starting point, but they can be a valuable tool to assess the landscape and further refine your market research efforts. 

Below are five tools that can be utilized at no or low cost to search for other Minnesota businesses.

1. MN Supplier Match – Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

supplier match

MN Supplier Match is an initiative of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's Grow Minnesota! program that seeks to highlight Minnesota’s robust supply chain and increase business-to-business activity in the state. Minnesota businesses can find local suppliers through our database of over 1,100 companies and can also be registered as a supplier in the database. There is no cost to search the database or be listed as a supplier.

Users can search by industry, location, business ownership characteristics (e.g. minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned), among other filterable options.

  • Cost: Free
  • Eligibility: Available to all
  • How to access: The MN Supplier Match database can be accessed here, but does require login credentials. Email or follow the instructions on the webpage to receive free login credentials. 



2. Business Finder, CareerOneStop


The Business Finder is provided by CareerOneStop, a program of the U.S. Department of Labor. This online database provides information on over 12 million employers throughout the United States. Users can search by location, industry, or keyword. This is not a comprehensive database of all U.S. businesses, but it covers a large range of firms and enables users to narrow their search by a few useful parameters. 



3.Active Business Data and Minnesota Business Snapshot, Minnesota Secretary of State


The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office provides lists of active businesses in Minnesota. They offer a couple different options. One option is to order an Active Business Onetime Request for $30 – this includes the name and address for each active business in the state of Minnesota. Users can also order this dataset on a weekly basis to receive updates on new business filings. 

The Secretary of State’s office also offers a Minnesota Business Snapshot dataset that includes additional information on 157,000 participating businesses who have provided voluntary information to identify their industry, ownership demographics, employee count and revenue size. Unlike the Active Business Data, the Minnesota Business Snapshot is not a comprehensive list of all Minnesota businesses. The full dataset costs $100, or users can order a subset of this information for a $35 fee. 

  • Cost: $30 – $100, depending on order
  • Eligibility: Available to all
  • How to access: Users can find more information on the Active Business Data here and on the Minnesota Business Snapshot here.



4. Mergent Intellect and Reference Solutions, Hennepin County Library


The Hennepin County Library provides library users with free access to national business databases. Two of the databases offered through their online resources are Mergent Intellect and Reference Solutions. Both products are subscription-based databases that offer a robust list of businesses around the United States and include a variety of information (e.g. industry, location, size, etc.) on the companies listed. To access, users must have an active Hennepin County Library account. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Eligibility: Hennepin County Library users only
  • How to access: These resources can be access on the Hennepin County Library website under their Online Resources tab



5. Member directory, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota chamber

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce member directory provides information on all Minnesota Chamber members and is searchable by keywords, industry and location among other search criteria. The Minnesota Chamber has over 6,300 members, ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 5000 companies. The directory is restricted to Minnesota Chamber members. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Eligibility: Must be a Minnesota Chamber member
  • How to access: Members can access the directory on the Minnesota Chamber website, by going to the login page and entering your member credentials. Non-members can visit our membership page for more information.

Need more assistance

The Grow Minnesota! team at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce can provide additional assistance to help your business utilize these resources or provide custom business lists upon request. 

Contact for more assistance.