The Massachusetts Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP) was established by Executive Order No. 523 in recognition of the importance of Massachusetts small businesses and the impact and challenges they face in today’s economy. The purpose of the program, as stated in the Executive Order, is “to support the existence and growth of small businesses which meet the Program’s eligibility requirements by providing them with special consideration within the Commonwealth’s procurement process for goods and services required by state agencies.”
The Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is administered by the Operational Services Division (OSD) with the support of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.
OSD oversees the procurement and management of contracts for goods and services as authorized in MGL c. 7 §22, c. 30 §51-52, and 801 CMR 21.00. OSD is responsible for the implementation of SBPP policies, which direct all Executive Departments to provide special consideration for participating small businesses when procuring non-construction goods and services with a total value less than or equal to $150,000.
The SBPP does not include non-recurring purchases of non-construction goods and services with a total value of less than $10,000, which are considered Procurement Exceptions, and procurements for vertical or horizontal construction since both are covered under statutes outside OSD's authority, MGL c. 149 §44A-H , and MGL c. 30 §39M respectively.
The Small Business Purchasing Program Goals
The SBPP aims to achieve three important goals: to increase the Commonwealth’s spending with participating small businesses; to build a network of advocates, liaisons, mentors, and recruiters, ready to assist small businesses; and to partner with Massachusetts small businesses, who strengthen our economy, create jobs, innovate and empower our communities.
Eligibility Criteria for Participation in the SBPP
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 tax form, of $15 million or less, based on a 3-year average; and,
- 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.
- For any entity attesting to Business Type "Non-Profit" (i.e. 501(c)):
- Is registered as a nonprofit or charitable organization with and is 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.
If your company meets all the above criteria, it is eligible to participate in the SBPP. To register for SBPP, navigate to www.COMMBUYS.com and select the Register link on the main page.
Benefits of SBPP Participation
Participation in the SBPP has a wide range of benefits for small businesses:
- 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.
How to Join the SBPP
COMMBUYS vendor registration is the only method of applying to participate in the SBPP. 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. The Vendor Registration in COMMBUYS job aid provides additional detail on the registration process. Companies that have already registered in COMMBUYS may apply to participate in the program through the same process. Participation in SBPP is renewed annually by agreeing to program terms and updating the company eligibility questionnaire in COMMBUYS. Information provided by vendors on the SBPP eligibility questionnaire at the time of initial program application or at the time of renewal is subject to verification of eligibility, as described in the following section.
SBPP Status Validation and Review
Beginning on November 24, 2014, COMMBUYS validates SBPP eligibility information submitted by companies in COMMBUYS through an interface with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). All companies registering to participate in the program will receive eligibility validation results by email immediately after completing the SBPP eligibility questionnaire section of their COMMBUYS vendor registration.
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.
Vendors who have received COMMBUYS notification emails stating that they are either not eligible for the SBPP, or that their eligibility could not be established, should consult the Potential Reasons for Disqualification document, which contains references to tax and employment information those vendors need to review in order to identify why they may not be eligible for the SBPP. The Potential Reasons for Disqualification document also contains instructions for companies who believe that they meet program eligibility criteria and would like to have OSD review their status. Requests for such reviews must be made within 25 business days of receiving notice of not being eligible to participate in the program. Vendors whose SBPP status review does not result in program eligibility will be eligible to apply to participate in the program one year from the date of receiving notice of disqualification from the program.
Small Procurements (total value less than or equal to $150,000) awarded to vendors who lose their SBPP status will be allowed to run through their current contract durations. At the end of the current contract duration, departments will make a determination whether renewing the contract (if renewal options exist) is in the best interests of the Commonwealth, and will either renew the contract or rebid it. While Large Procurements (greater than $150,000) may also be awarded to small business bidders participating in the SBPP, there is no requirement or preference that such contracts must be awarded to SBPP participants.
How to Request a Review after Being Disqualified from the SBPP
If you have received a message from COMMBUYS stating that your company is not eligible for the SBPP, or that your company’s eligibility could not be established, please access the Potential Reasons for Disqualification document, 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.
- A webinar for sellers titled Small Business Purchasing Program Overview is available for
- A webcast for sellers titled Small Business Purchasing Program Policy Overview is available for viewing anytime.
- Vendors interested in registering in COMMBUYS and participating in SBPP should use the COMMBUYS Vendor Registration file size 1MB job aid.
- The SBPP Attestation Form is a form OSD will require from specific vendors who have been disqualified from the SBPP and have filed a timely request for an SBPP eligibility review.
- If you have questions about the program, please see the SBPP Frequently Asked Questions page.