1. What is the Massachusetts Small Business Purchasing Program?
  2. What are Executive Departments?
  3. What is a procurement?
  4. Why is construction excluded from the SBPP?
  5. What is an affiliate?
  6. I am a sole proprietor. Can I participate in the SBPP?
  7. I am already an SDO-certified vendor. Can I participate in the SBPP?
  8. What are the Small Business Purchasing Program Eligibility requirements?
  9. What is the SBPP Agreement?
  10. How do I become SBPP participant?
  11. What does it cost to participate in the SBPP?
  12. What is the primary benefit of the SBPP and why should my business participate?
  13. What are the departmental goals for spending with vendors participating in the SBPP?
  14. I am an SBPP-eligible small business. does that mean I can be added to a Statewide Contract?
  15. What are additional benefits of the SBPP and Why should my business participate?
  16. Will I be able to obtain information from the SBPP about starting a small business or getting a small business loan?
  17. Is there training available for my business?
  18. I have reviewed information available on your website, but still have questions. Is there someone who can help me if I have a question but can't find the answer?
  19. I just received an email that I do not qualify for SBPP or that my eligibility could not be verified. What do I do now?
  20. Do I have to be registered in COMMBUYS to be part of the program?
  21. Does my SBPP status expire? How do I renew it?
  22. How is the principal place of business defined for the purposes of this program?

 

  1. What is the Massachusetts Small Business Purchasing Program?

The Massachusetts Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP) was established by Executive Order No. 523 pdf format of eo523.pdf
in recognition of the importance of Massachusetts small businesses and the impact and challenges they face in today’s economy. The goals of SBPP are to increase state spending with participating Massachusetts-based small businesses and to provide simple and easy access to information and resources that can assist the small business community.

Under the Executive Order, the Operational Services Division ("OSD"), the state's central procurement office, is responsible for managing, monitoring and enforcing the policies of the SBPP.

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  1. What are Executive Departments?

Executive Departments referenced in the Small Business Purchasing Program Executive Order are entities of the Executive Branch of the Massachusetts state government, including any executive office, board, commission, division, council, bureau, office, and any other agency now existing or established at a later date.

The Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, Constitutional Offices, Elected Official Offices, Public Institutions of Higher Education and Independent Public Authorities are not included. Municipalities (cities and towns), which are separate from state government, are also not included.

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  1. What is a procurement?

A procurement is the process Executive Departments use to acquire commodities or services, or both, through an outright purchase, license, lease-purchase, lease, rental, fee-for-service or other method approved by OSD or authorized by law. A procurement must meet Commonwealth laws and regulations and OSD policies designed to obtain best value while ensuring open and fair competition.

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  1. Why is construction excluded from the SBPP?

The SBPP is managed by the Commonwealth's Operational Services Division (OSD), which oversees the procurement and management of contracts for goods and services under 801 CMR 21.00 doc format of 801cmr21.doc
. The SBPP does not include vertical or horizontal construction procurements since both are covered under statutes outside OSD's authority, MGL c. 149, §44A-H and MGL c. 30, §39M , respectively.

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  1. What is an affiliate?

"Affiliate" refers to corporations or organizations which are related or associated as parent and subsidiary.

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  1. I am a sole proprietor. Can I participate in the SBPP?

Yes. If the ownership type of your business is sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, trust, LLC or a nonprofit, you may participate in the SBPP - as long as your business meets all other SBPP eligibility criteria .

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  1. I am already an SDO-certified vendor. Can I participate in the SBPP?

Absolutely!  The SBPP is separate from SDO’s certification programs, so you will be required to follow the same steps as all other SBPP applicants.  Please see the “How do I become an SBPP participant?”question 10 below for more information.

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  1. What are the Small Business Purchasing Program Eligibility requirements?

Any business entity, including all of its affiliates combined, can participate in the Small Business Purchasing Program if that entity, exclusively through COMMBUYS, accepts the program participation agreement, completes the eligibility questionnaire and is verified through COMMBUYS as meeting all program eligibility criteria below, as applicable:

Any business entity, including all of its affiliates combined, can participate in the Small Business Purchasing Program if that entity, exclusively through COMMBUYS, accepts the program participation agreement, completes the eligibility questionnaire and is verified through COMMBUYS as meeting all program eligibility criteria below, as applicable:

  • Has its principal place of business in Massachusetts;
  • Has been in business for at least one year;
  • Currently employs a combined total of 50 or fewer full-time equivalents in all locations;
  • Has gross revenues as reported on the appropriate Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) tax form of $15 million or less, based on a 3-year average; and,

EITHER

  • For any entity attesting to Business Type "For-Profit":
    • Is organized under the laws of the Commonwealth or is properly registered to do business in the Commonwealth; and
    • Is independently owned and operated.

OR

  • For any entity attesting to Business Type "Non-Profit" (i.e. 501(c)):
    • Is registered as a nonprofit or charitable organization with and up to date on its filings with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office; and
    • Is tax-exempt under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, i.e.organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c) and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual

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  1. What is the SBPP Agreement?

Companies which are SBPP-eligible must agree to comply with the following program terms or face sanctions including, but not limited to, loss of their COMMBUYS registration, SBPP benefits and SBPP eligibility.

  • Provide true and accurate program information through this COMMBUYS account;
  • Update this COMMBUYS account information if my company has any changes in the SBPP eligibility criteria in order to ensure accurate and complete program information;
  • provide additional information upon request to support the program eligibility information provided herein;
  • Allow OSD to release the information I provide in order to confirm my eligibility. This information includes, but is not limited to, revenue, number of employees (FTEs), hours worked and tax and wage information and data. I am consenting to the release of this information by OSD to other public entities including, but not limited to, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR), Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Assistance, Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Office of the Attorney General;
  • Allow DOR to conduct such review and to release relevant confirmatory information to OSD;
  • Allow the Commonwealth to audit or make periodic checks of any of my business’s records pertaining to this program; and
  • Provide further information if requested, as it may need to be collected for verification purposes.

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  1. How do I become SBPP participant?

If you do not have a COMMBUYS account, go to www.COMMBUYS.com and register. The registration wizard includes an optional set of SBPP terms and an eligibility questionnaire, which interested businesses will need to complete in order to apply to participate in the SBPP. .

Starting in November 2014, the information you enter online as part of your SBPP application will be validated by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).   Based on that validation process, if your company meets the SBPP eligibility requirements, it will receive a one-year registration for the SBPP and will be marked as a Small Business (SBR) with an Active status marker in the COMMBUYS Business Directory.  OSD has developed a COMMBUYS Vendor Registration job aid that will help you in your registration.

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  1. What does it cost to participate in the SBPP?

There is no fee for participation, the cost is zero. You must meet all SBPP eligibility criteria to participate in the SBPP.

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  1. What is the primary benefit of the SBPP and why should my business participate?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchases hundreds of millions of dollars of non-construction commodities and services every year. Executive Departments will target SBPP participants for notification and award when procuring non-construction commodities and services with a total value of less than or equal to $150,000 (except non-recurring purchases with a total value of less than $10,000, which are considered an exception).  Executive Departments are instructed to award contracts resulting from such procurements to a verified COMMBUYS-registered small business bidder that meets the Department’s best value criteria.  In the event that no verified COMMBUYS-registered small business meets the best value criteria, the award may be made to the vendor who has submitted the highest scoring proposal to the Department that meets or exceeds the best value criteria.

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  1. What are the departmental goals for spending with vendors participating in the SBPP?

Each year the Operational Services Division reviews benchmark recommendations for departments. The current benchmark for spending with SBPP has been set at 2.5%. For information regarding spending results please visit our website at www.mass.gov/sbpp

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  1. I am an SBPP-eligible small business. Does that mean I can be added to a Statewide Contract?

No. The SBPP will only apply to Executive Department procurements for non-construction commodities and services with a total value of less than or equal to $150,000.

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  1. What are additional benefits of the SBPP and why should my business participate?

Additional benefits to SBPP participants include:

  • Contract Opportunities: Targeted contract opportunities with all Executive Departments conducting procurements of non-construction goods and services with total values of less than or equal to $150,000 over the life of the contract;
  • Subscription to COMMBUYS: COMMBUYS account holders receive automatic email notification of procurement opportunities issued by Executive Departments and other entities, and are able to submit electronic responses to such opportunities;
  • Inclusion in the COMMBUYS business directory: SBPP participants will appear in the searchable COMMBUYS business directory and will be specifically identified as small businesses; 
  • Free training: Access to free training about the SBPP and COMMBUYS..

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  1. Will I be able to obtain information from the SBPP about starting a small business or getting a small business loan?

For information on how to start your business and financial options please visit the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and the US Small Business Administration.

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  1. Is there a glossary of SBPP terms I can reference?

OSD does provides several training resources for businesses interested in participating in SBPP:

We recommend that you attend other trainings offered to vendors interested in doing business with the Commonwealth.  For a complete list of training opportunities please go to the OSD web site at www.mass.gov/osd and select the OSD Events and Training link.

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  1. I have reviewed information available on your website, but still have questions. Is there someone who can help me if I have a question but can't find the answer?

Yes, but please make sure you are contacting the group that can help you!  Here is some guidance:

  • If you have questions about registering in COMMBUYS, email our excellent COMMBUYS Help Desk staff at commbuys@state.ma.us. Our goal is to respond to all messages received on workdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm within one business day although we typically respond within the same day.
  • If you have a question related to training (e.g., you're having trouble locating or signing up for a class), send an email to the Training Team at osdtraining@state.ma.us with a subject line of "SBPP Training" or "COMMBUYS Training."
  • If you have applied for SBPP status as part of your COMMBUYS registration and received an automated email stating that you do not qualify for the program, please consult the SBPP Potential Reasons for Disqualification, which will explain additional steps you may take to understand your program status.

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  1. I just received an email that I do not qualify for SBPP or that my eligibility could not be verified.  What do I do now?

If you have completed the SBPP eligibility questionnaire as part of your COMMBUYS registration and have received an email stating that you are not eligible to be part of the program or that your eligibility could not be verified, please consult the SBPP Potential Reasons for Disqualification, which contains instructions for requesting that OSD review your SBPP status. Such eligibility reviews must be requested within 25 business days of receiving notice of disqualification and only if you believe and can document that your company meets all SBPP eligibility criteria.

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  1. Do I have to be registered in COMMBUYS to be part of the program?

Yes. COMMBUYS registration, which includes agreement to SBPP terms and providing eligibility information, is the only method of applying to be part of the program. After registration, program participants are required to maintain their accounts and update their account information if their companies have any changes in the SBPP eligibility criteria. Information provided by vendors on the SBPP eligibility questionnaire at the time of initial program application and at the time of renewal is subject to verification of eligibility.

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  1. Does my SBPP status expire?  How do I renew it?

SBPP eligibility is validated annually and renewed if a vendor continues to meet the SBPP criteria. Prior to the anniversary of their initial SBPP validation, vendors will receive an automated email from COMMBUYS asking them to update their SBPP eligibility information in their COMMBUYS vendor profiles.

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  1. How is the principal place of business defined for the purposes of this program?

For the purposes of the SBPP, companies must be registered as a domestic company with the Secretary of State or as a sole proprietor or other company type in their city or town.

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