Tuesday, September 15, 2020

MAYOR WALSH RELEASES REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR NEXT ROUND OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES


MAYOR WALSH RELEASES REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR NEXT ROUND OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Revised guidelines encourage flexibility, consistency, and diversity among providers to support the evolving needs of Boston's small businesses

BOSTON - Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting proposals from small business technical assistance entities to provide technical assistance to small business in the City of Boston. The RFP is designed to expand economic and entrepreneurial opportunity throughout the city, and support a safe and equitable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Completed proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis each month, beginning on September 30, 2020 and ending Friday, January 31, 2023, and can be submitted electronically via the Supplier Portal.

"We are dedicated to continuing to support our small businesses as they recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mayor Walsh. "Small businesses drive our economy and support vibrant neighborhoods. We want to ensure that business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs have the tools they need to grow and thrive in Boston."  

Technical assistance providers are experienced business consultants that through the Small Business Technical Assistance (TA) program will provide high-quality assistance and training to interested small businesses. Training includes accounting, financing, business planning, budgeting, projections, staffing, human resources, insurance, interior design, licensing and permitting, branding, marketing, promoting, packaging, distribution, vendors, suppliers, cost analysis, customer analysis, legal responsibilities, and more.

Selected TA providers will provide direct one-on-one assistance to designated businesses within the City of Boston, and also provide group workshops and coaching sessions to existing or aspiring business owners. The proposed services should be designed to assist businesses to achieve stability and increase opportunities for growth, successfully secure procurement opportunities, and increase the economic vitality of Boston's business districts.  

Changes to the upcoming Technical Assistance RFP round include:
  1. Providers may submit bid contracts for a period up to three years, an increase from the previous 18-month period, providing greater consistency for TA Providers;
  2. TA provider applications will be open on a rolling, monthly basis, allowing the City to respond to evolving needs of our small businesses;
  3. Inclusion of a request for providers that can support certification of minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs).
Prospective TA providers are encouraged to participate in upcoming information sessions to address questions relative to the content of the RFP. Two sessions will be offered virtually on Zoom on Thursday, September 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Tuesday, September 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Links to these sessions on the Office of Economic Development Facebook page

Every month, on the first business day of the month, applications will be downloaded from the City of Boston Supplier Portal website for review. The RFP will appear live again the next day for the following month. In order to participate in these online procurement activities, bidders must register with the Supplier Portal.  

The City of Boston encourages a full range of TA providers to apply for this opportunity to support the varied and dynamic needs of small business owners of all backgrounds and industries. In November 2019, Mayor Walsh announced a new executive order to support equitable procurement, building on Boston's commitment to ensuring every resident and business in Boston has access to the same opportunities, identifying the City's spending power as a key lever for increasing equity in business opportunities. To certify your business as a minority, woman, veteran, or small and local business enterprise, please visit the Equity & Inclusion Unit's Business Certification page online. 

Mayor Walsh is dedicated to ensuring small businesses have the necessary resources to reopen and operate their businesses safely.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $6.7 million in debt-free grants have been distributed to 1,685 small businesses in every neighborhood across Boston through the Small Business Relief Fund. The Reopen Boston Fund, launched in May 2020, continues to offer grants to Boston's businesses of up to $2,000 to assist with reopening costs. More than 1,200 businesses have received direct grants from the Reopen Boston Fund to date, with more than $2.1 million distributed. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development Small Business Unit has also supported businesses with various business lists,temporary sidewalk extensions and temporary outdoor dining

ABOUT THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CABINET
The Economic Development Cabinet's mission is to make Boston an appealing and accessible place for working families, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to innovate, grow, and thrive in a way that fosters inclusion, broadens opportunity, and shares prosperity, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Bostonians and the experience for all visitors. Learn more on their website

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