Press Release

Press Release  At MLK Breakfast, Governor Healey Announces New Efforts to Expand State Contracts to Diverse Businesses

Governor Healey will also swear in the state’s first Diverse and Small Business Advisory Board for the Supplier Diversity Office
For immediate release:
1/15/2024
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll

Media Contact   for At MLK Breakfast, Governor Healey Announces New Efforts to Expand State Contracts to Diverse Businesses

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Boston — At today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Governor Maura Healey, in partnership with the Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), announced additional efforts to increase state contracts with diverse and small businesses by assessing and reopening contracts that can provide such opportunities. This effort also includes swearing in the state’s first Diverse and Small Business Advisory Board for the Supplier Diversity Office. 

"Our administration applies an equity lens to everything we do – and that includes the process to award state contracts. We’re proud to be taking this step to reopen contracts that can provide more opportunities for diverse and small businesses to compete,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re also increasing efforts to reach out directly to diverse entrepreneurs and connect them with the resources they need to succeed, as well as swearing in a group of leaders to offer advice to help guide our efforts to identify and remove barriers for diverse and small businesses.” 

 “These initiatives are focused on making sure that our diverse and small businesses have equal chances to compete for state contracts,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “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.” 

The state’s purchasing agency, the Operational Services Division (OSD), and the Supplier Diversity Office have partnered to assess and reopen statewide contracts that can provide more opportunities for diverse and small businesses. Together, they have identified opportunities for businesses in information technology, energy and climate action, and in contracts for a range of industries. These newly identified contracts will reopen for new vendors later this year, and regular reviews will be conducted in the future in order to find more opportunities to include new diverse businesses. 
 

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. 

Governor Healey also will swear in the first Supplier Diversity Office Diverse and Small Business Advisory Board. The Board is made up of 15 diverse business leaders from across the state and will guide the SDO in its mission and work to identify and remove barriers for diverse and small businesses. The Chair of this Board will be Nicole Obi, President, and CEO of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA). 

“I’m thrilled to join the Supplier Diversity Office Small Business Advisory Board,” said Chair Nicole Obi. “It’s our goal to support the administration in their efforts to increase the diversity of the businesses contracted by the state and to advise the administration in the best ways to reach these businesses. Opening the door for opportunity is key to making Massachusetts a more equitable state for all.”  

Additional initiatives from the state focused on making more opportunities available to diverse and small businesses include: 

  • The SDO is proposing updating the definition of “eligible person” in their certification regulations to include US citizens, permanent residents, and persons residing under the color of law. 

  • The SDO is 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. 

This announcement follows the launch of a new partnership that will help veteran-owned businesses bid on contracts across the state, an expansion of the state spending benchmarks to LGBTQ+ and disability-owned businesses, and the launch of a new interactive online map that will help state agencies, cities, towns, prime bidders and contractors identify certified diverse business partners.  

These efforts are part of Governor Healey’s commitment that her administration is going to apply an equity lens to everything they do. Other initiatives include: 

  • Updated the state’s clemency guidelines to become the first Governor is history to commit to using clemency to address historic and discriminatory wrongs in the criminal justice system. 

  • Became the first Governor in recent history to recommend pardons in her first year in office. This year alone, 13 individuals have been pardoned at Governor Healey’s request. 

  • Launched an administration-wide equity assessment. 

  • Created the position of Director of Rural Affairs to serve as a dedicated advocate and ombudsman for rural communities, responsible for cultivating rural economic development to ensure that state government is attuned to the unique needs of rural communities. 

  • Launched the Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team (HART) within the Massachusetts State Police, which is dedicated to enhancing federal, state and local partnerships and liaising with community leaders to strengthen statewide response to hate crimes and hate-based incidents. 

  • Proposed changing the name of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to MassAbility to better represent the agency’s role in helping those with disabilities gain autonomy and independence. 

  • Signed an Executive Order to increase language access across state government by requiring executive department agencies to develop Language Access Plans. 

  • Established Governor’s Councils on Black Empowerment and Latino Empowerment. 

  • Created the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board to strengthen and advance digital accessibility and equity within state government and created the position of Chief Information Technology Accessibility Officer. 

The SDO’s mission is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in state contracting for businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, those with a disability, and LGBT individuals, as well as small Massachusetts businesses. The SDO certifies these businesses and manages several programs that help them enhance their marketability when bidding on public contracts. For more information about the SDO and its programs, visit mass.gov/sdo.   

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Media Contact   for At MLK Breakfast, Governor Healey Announces New Efforts to Expand State Contracts to Diverse Businesses

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

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