Baker-Polito Administration Signed a New Executive Order to Create Supplier-Diversity Office Oversight and Accountability

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration signed a new Executive Order that will provide more opportunities for diverse and small businesses. The new executive order includes elements that will strengthen the state’s commitment to equity and inclusion in the state’s contracting.

The Supplier Diversity Office, which became a state agency in 2020, supports businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, those with a disability, and LGBT individuals, and small Massachusetts businesses through certifying and connecting them with business opportunities and resources. The certification helps businesses to increase their marketability when bidding for public contracts.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

The SDO’s FY21 Annual Report showed growth in diversity contracts and innovation. The state spent $2.85 billion with diverse and small businesses, a 26.7% increase from previous year. Furthermore, state spending was up by 33% for small businesses, 9.8% for minority-owned businesses, and 38.4% for women-owned businesses.

“The Supplier Diversity Office has made great progress in formalizing and expanding fair and equitable procurement processes for the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Diverse and small businesses will further benefit from the changes outlined in the Executive Order signed today, which will centralize staff dedicated to promoting equity at the SDO and strengthen its efforts to support the diverse business community.”

The new executive order consolidates administration and oversight of the state’s supplier diversity program, small business purchasing program and related initiatives under the newly-formed Supplier Diversity Office (SDO). It will call for the appointment of a Secretariat or Agency Supplier Diversity Officer in each state department who will be responsible for ensuring that diverse and small business spending benchmarks are met and create a new SDO compliance unit.

In addition, the new executive order will create an advisory board of 15 members, expand outreach efforts, including providing resources to help eliminate barriers for diverse and small businesses such as access to capital, training and technical assistance programs. One such resource is the Municipal Supplier Diversity Playbook, issued by the SDO in FY2021, which can be used by cities and towns to establish their own local supplier diversity programs.

Certification has led to a number of success stories, such as Canton-based Westnet, Inc., which is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).

Westnet, Inc is a medical product company. Certified since 1994, it answered the call during the early, uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was hard to come by. The minority-owned Westnet supplied tens of millions of units of masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and other items to more than 10,000 child care providers. The contract was worth more than $50 million, the largest in Westnet’s history.

“Certification gives a business an opportunity to build relationships and show that diverse businesses can be competitive and do a great job,” said Gordon Thompson, CEO of Westnet. “It gives companies like mine a genuine opportunity to show what we can do, and that’s the best you can ask for.”

This late summer, SDO plans to launch a department’s Supplier Diversity Hub (SDH or Hub), which will offer matchmaking of diverse and small businesses to prime contractors, agencies, and technical and financial assistance providers. The SDH will also enable state departments and contractors to track their own compliance with diverse and small business benchmarks.

In addition, the SDO will roll out a “supplier diversity heat map” of Massachusetts diverse and small businesses, helping state departments, cities and towns and prime vendors find diverse and small businesses by county, city/town, zip code and/or certification type. The map will enable buyers to support not only diverse and small businesses but local ones as well.

The SDO also developed a resource webpage for diverse and small businesses to find training, bidding opportunities and access to capital, technical assistance and other resources that will help them to better compete when bidding on public contract opportunities.

Visit the SDO website on to learn more about the SDO, view resources, and see the FY2021 Annual Report.

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