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BPDA Accepts Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pacesetters Award for Minority Business Enterprise Partnership of the Year

Jun 26, 2023

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) today accepted the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pacesetters Award for increasing participation by diverse suppliers in procurement contracts. The Agency received the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Partnership of the Year Award for their work with Casablanca Services Inc., a minority-owned landscaping firm. The Pacesetters awards announced today recognize growth in spend, innovative procurement practices, and overall commitment to creating economic opportunities in the business community.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Chamber in this way, after formalizing our equitable procurement plan two years ago,” said Chief of Planning and BPDA Director Arthur Jemison. “Though the work continues, I believe this recognition of our work with Casablanca Services is a positive step forward in ensuring we are moving in the right direction and allowing the City to grow by building and investing in a more diverse workforce.”

"Congratulations to the Boston Planning & Development Agency for receiving the Chamber's Pacesetters Award that recognizes their Partnership of the Year with Casablanca Services! The Chamber created Pacesetters to lead Boston forward to a more inclusive and equitable future, and the successful partnership between the BPDA and Casablanca shows us how to be a champion of supplier diversity. With this partnership, we see a deep relationship that has moved beyond a transaction to a transformative business relationship. This is how we move the needle and create a business community where every business can start, stay, and succeed in the Commonwealth," said James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

"Our experience with the BPDA has been great. The process of working with them was clear and easy, and we felt welcomed as a minority small business,” said Casablanca Company President Yacine Ibrahimi. “From getting information about the bids to answering our questions, they are always responsive and understanding of what a small business goes through. We appreciate the opportunity to serve the community through working with the Agency."

The BPDA initially connected with Casablanca at a city-sponsored event to diversify participation in snow removal opportunities. The BPDA then referred Casablanca to several other opportunities to contract with the Agency. Casablanca in turn shared with the BPDA ways to make contracting opportunities more accessible, beginning a strong partnership that continues today. Casablanca later won a contract for Downtown Waterfront Landscaping & Maintenance, followed by two additional contracts in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, and partnerships with other City departments. The relationship is a testament to the importance of intentionally creating and maintaining relationships with a variety of vendors.

The BPDA adopted an Equitable Procurement Plan in May 2021 to ensure that Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) are represented and benefit from the agency’s contracts. Through the Equitable Procurement Plan, the BPDA has redesigned the procurement process to increase the number of opportunities for M/WBEs to participate in the agency’s contracting. The BPDA has increased training and staffing to better equip the agency to successfully diversify the yearly contract spend. Most notably, the agency has hired a Supplier Diversity Specialist, who reaches out directly to M/WBEs to provide notifications of upcoming contract opportunities and provide technical assistance.

In addition, the BPDA is working to make the public aware of new Requests For Proposals (RFPS), Requests for Quotes (RFQs), and Solicitations for Quotes (SFQs). That outreach also includes a public buying plan and additional information on the Equitable Procurement Plan available to the public on the BPDA’s website.

Through all its work, the BPDA is committed to fostering inclusive growth within the City of Boston through creating opportunities for everyone to live, work, and connect. In addition to the Equitable Procurement Plan, the Agency has focused on integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into all policies and procedures, from the ongoing Article 80 development review and community engagement modernization work to our DEI Disclosure Policy.

Implemented in August of 2022, the BPDA’s DEI Disclosure Policy requests that proponents of large development projects include plans focused on increasing economic participation, employment, and management roles for people of color, women, and certified Minority and Women Owned Businesses within their projects. The DEI Disclosure Policy informed the Commonwealth Development Compact, a partnership between the City of Boston and five municipalities that commits to increasing access to the economic and social benefits of real estate development to all people and businesses in the Commonwealth through aligning DEI policies in public land dispositions and private development.

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