The Healey-Driscoll Administration last week announced that the Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), which is responsible for bringing fairness to the state’s bidding and procurement process, has entered into a new partnership that will help veteran-owned businesses bid on contracts across the state.
The SDO is partnering with the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), an independent nonprofit that certifies businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans. Both organizations will work together to increase contracting opportunities with veteran-owned businesses.
“Our Supplier Diversity Office does incredible work every day to expand opportunities for diverse and small businesses to win contracts with the state, which makes our businesses, our economy and our communities stronger,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our veterans have sacrificed so much in service to our country, and we take the responsibility of supporting them very seriously here in Massachusetts. We are proud to launch this new partnership that will lower barriers for veteran-owned businesses to bid for contracts and do business with the state.”
“This new partnership is an important step in our administration’s efforts to bolster support and services for Massachusetts veterans under the leadership of Secretary Jon Santiago,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “We look forward to working with NaVOBA to cut red tape and streamline the process for veterans to do business with Massachusetts.”
“This is an important step toward removing administrative burdens on veteran-owned businesses to becoming certified, opening up tremendous opportunities for these individuals who have served our country to bid on state contracts and grow their businesses here in Massachusetts,” said Secretary for Administration and Finance Matthew J. Gorzkowicz. “I am proud of the work SDO has been doing to expand opportunities and look forward to continuing our efforts to help small businesses thrive.”
“The SDO has been successful in helping bring fairness in the state’s bidding process through our cross-certification partnerships, such as with the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, Center for Women’s Enterprise, City of Boston, Disability:IN, and the National LGBTBE Chamber of Commerce,” said SDO Executive Director William McAvoy. “We expect our partnership with NaVOBA to help business owners who have served their country.”
“NaVOBA is thrilled to join forces with the Supplier Diversity Office in this impactful collaboration,” said Matthew Pavelek, President and CEO of NaVOBA. “Our partnership exemplifies a shared commitment to advancing opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. We aim to empower veterans to thrive in the business world by streamlining the certification process. We appreciate the Executive Office of Veterans Services for their support and commend the Supplier Diversity Office for their dedication to fostering an inclusive and thriving business environment for our nation’s heroes.”
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the SDO and NaVOBA, the SDO will grant certifications to businesses already certified with NaVOBA. Typically, businesses need to apply and undergo an investigation from the SDO before they receive certification. This agreement streamlines the process, making these businesses able to receive the benefits of SDO certification, such as the ability to bid on state contracts and attend SDO trainings and networking events. Certified businesses are also included in the SDO’s listing of certified businesses used by prime vendors and state agencies looking for vendors.
The MOU also allows the SDO to access NaVOBA’s membership database to reach out to members about becoming SDO certified.
The announcement marks the SDO’s latest effort to aid veteran-owned businesses. Recently, the Commonwealth’s Municipal Construction Affirmative Marketing Program (MCAMP), part of the SDO, released new guidelines mandating that certain construction projects must allocate at least three percent of its funding to Veteran-owned Business Enterprises (VBEs) and/or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (SDVOBEs). This is a first for the Massachusetts construction industry.