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All of Boston’s businesses deserve access to the same opportunities to grow their capacity and compete for contracts. City contracts can provide a crucial lifeline for small and local businesses. It is imperative that the City do everything in its power to build a more equitable contracting ecosystem, make it easier for minority- and women-owned businesses to enter the pipeline, and support diverse small and local businesses in the process.


The City’s recently released disparity study laid bare what was already well-known: minority- and women-owned businesses, especially those owned by people of color, have always been left behind. When Black-owned businesses account for less than one-half of a percent of City spending, it is time for bold action. 


As a Black man and business owner, and with his wealth of experience working with businesses across the city, John is uniquely qualified to tackle this issue. As Mayor, John will work tirelessly to further reform the way Boston does business. 


John’s Record:


  • As Chief of Economic Development, John expanded business technical assistance programs, provided more funding, and increased access to that critically-needed capital.

  • John created the City’s Small Business Unit and Equity and Inclusion Unit to support local businesses and help build a pipeline of certified minority- and women-owned businesses.

  • John created the Economic Development Center, bringing business resources, one-on-one training, and information about contracting opportunities to neighborhoods across the city, at flexible times, and in Boston’s most spoken languages.

  • John took a number of steps to ensure that City departments contract with equity in mind, including:

    • Establishing Equitable Procurement Plans for every City department, a required step of the annual budget process that requires departments to document their efforts to contract with certified vendors;

    • Establishing a citywide policy of soliciting bids for all contracts from the City’s Certified Business Directory; and

    • Training procurement officers across departments in proactive marketing and outreach.

  • John created the Pathways to Contracting series, which runs workshops, trainings, and certifications aimed at helping residents learn about City contracting opportunities.

  • John created the Supplier Diversity Advisory Council, a group of business and community leaders across the private and public sectors who advise the City on matters related to supplier diversity and equitable procurement.

  • John led the City’s first Disparity Study in 18 years, an important tool that lays a legal foundation for bold action that is race- and gender-conscious.

  • Based on the results of the Disparity Study, John established the City’s highest-ever goals for minority- and woman-owned business participation in City contracts, and established a Supplier Diversity Program to oversee implementation.


The disparity study released under John’s leadership in 2021 provides the legal foundation to build a strong and meaningful minority- and women-owned business (MWBE) program in Boston, but doing this will require completely rethinking how the City spends its money. With John’s plan, the City of Boston can move from the back of the pack to being a national leader in municipal spending on MWBEs. 


As Mayor, John will:


Increase the City of Boston’s procurement goals

  • Create the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services to oversee all City contracting and related employee training, and to build a transparent tracking system. This office will also be responsible for designing and enforcing penalties against City-awarded contracts that don’t meet their diversity requirements, including the Boston Residents Jobs Policy.

  • Instruct City purchasers using the State’s Requirements Contracts List to choose MWBEs whenever possible. 

  • Create a mandatory, ongoing training program for City contract administrators designed to help them design a proactive program to attract qualified MWBE vendors, and teach them to work with departments to break up contracts into smaller pieces with the goal of attracting smaller MWBEs.

  • Require all departmental contract administrators to affirmatively market and solicit bids from MWBEs, with the goal of 50% of all contracts under $50,000 being awarded to MWBEs, with 25% to MBEs and 25% to WBEs. 

  • Require all departments utilizing exempt, non-competitive contracts that they affirmatively market and solicit bids from MWBEs, with the goal of awarding 25% of these to MBEs and 25% to WBEs. Departments that fail to do this in a fiscal year will be made to secure approval from the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services before engaging in any additional contracts, until they meet the requirements.

  • Strive to make sure at least 50% of the contract administrators who work for the City are women or people of color.

  • Simplify RFPs, and work with communications specialists to make sure they are visible and accessible to all. 

  • Require all quasi-City departments to operate under the same requirements listed above.


Work with contractors and partners to establish diversity requirements.

  • Require primes on all contracts who use subcontractors to utilize at least 25% MWBEs. Establish penalties for those who fail to meet the threshold, including liquidated damages and termination of contracts for non-performance.

  • Include a look back provision in all RFP assessments that disadvantages any potential contractor who failed to meet diversity goals in previous contracts. 

  • Work with the Commonwealth’s Operational Services Division and the  Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to share information, marketing, and communications for greater outreach to MWBEs in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth. 


Increase and streamline the City’s business support resources.

  • Streamline and digitize the onerous certification process for MWBEs. Create a unit within the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services that affirmatively markets to MWBEs to become certified, and leads them through the process. Work with the Commonwealth so that State Certification automatically qualifies as City Certification.

  • Establish a capacity-building fund within the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development that provides capacity-building technical assistance to MWBEs 

  • Establish regular, consistent office hours for MWBE’s seeking to certify and win contracts, and make all materials available in multiple languages.

  • Hire industry liaisons for the top five sectors to work directly with smaller MWBE’s on their contracting capacity.

  • Make City contracting more transparent by listing all City contracting opportunities on a user-friendly, non-password-protected website.

  • Proactively send contracting opportunities to businesses who have started or inquired about the certification process, as well as professional organizations and advocacy groups whose members include minority- and women-owned businesses.


Make all program data transparent and accessible to the public.

  • Require the submission and posting of diversity data of subcontractors on all contracts.

  • Direct the CFO’s office to create a dashboard, updated at short, regular intervals, that includes diversity information for all contractors and their subcontractors.

  • Require City departments to proactively document how they plan to affirmatively market contracts to MWBEs before issuing an RFP or solicitation for bids.

  • Create and publish a City of Boston annual affirmative marketing plan every year until goals are met. 

  • Commit to a new disparity study to be completed every five years.


Just as this campaign is a community effort, this policy plan has been informed by a diverse group of residents, policy makers, and community organizations who reflect Boston's ingenuity, passion, and future. In this policy you will see your voice reflected and your neighborhood priorities front and center. I am incredibly grateful for the hours, data, and guidance leant to support this effort. I welcome continued feedback and suggestions from all corners of the city, because I know that policies are most successful when led by the community.
Now, more than ever, I have the opportunity to bring all voices to the table to create a Boston that brings prosperity and justice for everyone.Together we can create a Boston where nobody is left behind.
Thank you for reading and helping to shape Boston's future, I look forward to working with you.