At a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Boston, Gov. Maura Healey on Monday announced that two state offices are partnering to reopen unspecified statewide contracts to provide more opportunities to diverse and small businesses.
Healey also named Black Economic Council of Massachusetts President Nicole Obi to chair the state's first Supplier Diversity Office Diverse and Small Business Advisory Board. The board will help identify and remove barriers for for diverse and small businesses.
Following an assessment, the Operational Services Division and the Supplier Diversity Office "have identified opportunities for businesses in information technology, energy and climate action, and in contracts for a range of industries," the governor's office said, and contracts are expected to reopen for new vendors later in 2024, with regular reviews on the horizon to facilities more efforts to diversify vendors.
"As existing contracts reopen, the SDO will reach out directly to diverse entrepreneurs to measure their interest and readiness in bidding on state contracts and to connect them with the available training and technical assistance resources they need, as well as connecting them with the relevant state agencies purchasing goods and services," the governor's office said.
“These initiatives are focused on making sure that our diverse and small businesses have equal chances to compete for state contracts,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said. "Local businesses are the backbone of our state and, as an administration, we’re committed to supporting them in whatever ways we can. This includes opening the door for opportunities with the state and expanding our network of businesses.”
Healey's office also said the Supplier Diversity Office is proposing to update the definition of "eligible person" in certification regulations "to include US citizens, permanent residents, and persons residing under the color of law," and "looking to expand the available pool of opportunities for diverse and small businesses to include supplier diversity language in grant opportunities that are posted by state agencies as well opening up additional opportunities for diverse businesses in state-funded municipal construction projects."
Monday's breakfast was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.