The mission of the Economic Opportunity and Inclusion (EOI) Cabinet is to make Boston a global model of economic equity for working people, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors by implementing sustainable practices that repair past economic harm and help build generational wealth for disadvantaged communities. Ultimately, it will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government, the quality of life for all Bostonians, and the experience of all visitors.
Economic Resilience and Vibrancy
As Boston aims to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our lives, the City recognizes the need to invest in economic recovery and growth.
The FY23 Operating Budget includes $1 million for the Boston Main Streets program, which recently went through a reimagine process to identify improvements. Research and engagement found that greater City investment would promote equity across districts. The funds will be used toward a broad range of initiatives that aim to bring vibrancy to the designated districts, such as technical assistance, storefront vacancy filling, event programming, and more. The investment will increase the number of districts from 20 to 23. The FY23 budget also contains $75,000 for placemaking in areas that are that not designated Main Street districts.
The new Legacy Business Fund, an Operating Budget investment of $1 million, will support the retention of historic neighborhood businesses. Small business owners continue to face reduced cashflow in light of the pandemic, along with the increasing pressures of gentrification. Modeled off of San Francisco's Legacy Business Program, the Fund would provide the necessary resources for a historic business to address short- and long-term needs as the economy continues to recover.
In 2019, the City announced an executive order to ensure the full participation of all enterprises in City spending, focused on small, local minority- and women- business enterprises (MWBEs) and veteran-owned businesses. The order identified the need for a public-facing small business directory and a training program for City employees and departments. In addition, as part of FY23 budget development, departments submitted procurement plans that prioritize equitable business practices.
The City is committed to helping MWBEs and veteran-owned small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. To fulfill this commitment, the FY23 budget sustains initiatives and positions that support implementation of the equitable procurement executive order:
- $750,000 to continue the Boston Contracting Opportunity Fund, which will help businesses build capacity so they can bid for City contracts
- funding for OSHA training and procurement informational sessions, and
- data management personnel and technology to support effective tracking and reporting on progress toward inclusive procurement.
Transformational Investments in Economic Opportunity
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) affords the City the ability to make bold investments toward systemic change. The Mayor has filed an appropriation order for $34 million in ARPA funding to more substantially support Boston's business owners. Highlights of the proposed ARPA investments include:
- $10 million to fund minority-owned business growth and capacity to apply for larger-scale contracts with the City.
- $9 million to go toward the Commercial Rental Rebate Pilot Program, which will prioritize helping our small businesses, specifically women- and minority-owned businesses, move into downtown commercial districts to revitalize downtown districts.
- $4 million to complement operating investments in the Boston Main Streets Program. The ARPA funds will focus on beautification of the physical district areas.
- $3 million to expand Tuition Free Community College and post-graduation coaching support. The majority of students thus far have been low-income, Black and Latinx, and first-generation college students.
- $3 million to support workforce development programs in the life sciences and digital literacy.
- $3 million to be used to promote economic resilience within immigrant households through financial support and education.
- $2 million to support diverse small businesses through a tourism campaign and digital commerce platform.