Tools to enhance supplier diversity for the City of Boston announced
Mayor Kim Janey on Wednesday launched the first in a series of tools to make it easier for diverse vendors to do business with the City of Boston. These innovations and reforms help build capacity, increase transparency, reduce barriers, and make it easier for the City and public and private sector partners to find woman and minority-owned businesses.
“I am excited to introduce a suite of new tools to help minority-owned business enterprises thrive,” said Mayor Janey. “I believe entrepreneurship is a proven pathway to wealth creation. As Mayor of Boston, I am committed to supporting projects that unlock opportunity for entrepreneurs of color and close our racial wealth gap.”
The newest procurement tools are as follows:
Streamlined Minority Business Enterprise certification process: The City has transformed the process for firms to secure MBE certification from a 9-page paper application to a 3-page online form.
New City of Boston first Buying Plan: The City has published its first Buying Plan, outlining more than $65 million in planned City of Boston purchases. This forecast gives smaller firms, including MBEs, valuable lead time to secure additional equipment or staff to prepare a large bid.
New Statewide MBE-Certified business directory: The City has launched the first combined database of over 4,000 firms with MBE certification from the City of Boston or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Mayor Janey announced the new tools for the procurement process at a ribbon cutting for the Omni Boston at the Seaport. Guided by MassPort’s pioneering procurement model, this hotel project brought minority business enterprises together with other firms to provide services ranging from general contracting to architectural design. With the introduction of these new procurement tools, Boston will further advance projects with similar equity goals.
Previously, through the Boston Contracting Opportunity Fund, the City awarded $820,000 in grant funding to 56 Boston-based businesses to support expanding their capacity to contract with the City of Boston. The Boston Contracting Opportunity Fund was launched in April to assist diverse, local businesses working in construction, building and design, professional and support services, and goods and supplies. The goal of the Fund is to increase the quantity and availability of Certified Businesses through granted monetary assistance to help entities access City-contracted projects.
Of the 56 businesses awarded, 81 percent are owned by a person of color and 33 percent are owned by a woman, with locations across Boston’s neighborhoods, including Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, Mattapan, and Roslindale, among others. Throughout this funding round, 39 entities applied for certification as minority-owned (MBE) or woman-owned (WBE) businesses.
Mayor Janey announced the Boston Contracting Opportunity Fund in April as part of several new supplier diversity initiatives to address equity in City contracting. Capacity building was one of the needs identified by the Disparity Study in order to increase the availability of diverse businesses ready to compete for City contracts.
The Supplier Diversity program was established in 2021 following the completion of the City’s Disparity Study. The program creates fair and equitable access to City contracting opportunities through developing inclusive procurement practices, monitoring City contracts, providing technical assistance, offering business certification and connecting minority and woman-owned businesses to current and future contracting opportunities.
For more information about the City’s efforts to foster an inclusive economy in Boston, visit here.