Sheltered Market Program
The goal of the Sheltered Market Program (SMP) is to advance equity in procurement. On December 1, 2021, Mayor Wu filed an order with the City Council that allowed Boston to designate up to six City contracts for procurement from minority- and women-owned businesses. This pilot was approved by the City Council on December 15 and was signed by the Mayor on January 11, 2022. After completion of the pilot, Mayor Wu filed an order with the City Council to authorize a full scale Sheltered Market Program in Boston.
What is a Sheltered Market Program?
Sheltered Market Programs allow state and local governments to reserve certain contracts for minority- and/or women-owned businesses. The procurement process is still competitive. That means businesses will submit a proposal that will be evaluated against all other proposals according to specific criteria. But, in this case, only minority- and women-owned businesses are eligible to submit a bid.
Sheltered Market Programs can help promote equity and inclusion in state and local government contracting in two ways:
- They provide contracting opportunities for businesses that are often excluded from government contracts.
- They help build the capacity of small, local, diverse businesses so that they can submit bids for larger government contracts in the future.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The City designates contracts as part of its Sheltered Market Program (SMP) for the following types of procurements:
- Professional Services
- Support Services, or
- Goods and Services.
Each contract has unique eligibility criteria.
Eligibility for each contract is determined according to the findings of the City's Disparity Study, published in February 2021. Only groups for whom there is a demonstrable disparity between their utilization in City contracting and their availability will be eligible to bid on or submit proposals for SMP contracts. These eligibility criteria will be determined and announced for each contract independently. Check this page to find helpful information about SMP contracts as they are announced.
Prepare Your Business to Participate
All businesses who wish to compete for SMP contracts must be certified through the City's Business Certification Program. If you're not already certified as an MBE, WBE, SLBE, or Veteran-owned business, follow the link below. We have a step-by-step guide to submitting a certification application online or by mail or email.
Is your business already certified? We suggest getting re-certified to ensure that your certification is valid when you submit your bid for an SMP contract.
BECOME A CITY VENDOR
Once you're certified, you'll need to become a City vendor by creating an account in our Supplier Portal. This account will allow your business to actually submit a bid for the SMP and other City contracts. Follow the link below to create an account on the Supplier Portal.
CHECK THIS PAGE FOR UPDATES
As we designate SMP contracts, we will post information about:
- contract types
- eligibility criteria, and
- important deadlines for each.
Check this page for updates and announcements.
Sheltered Market Contracts
Questions and AnswersQuestions and Answers
Read the Order
Read Mayor Wu's Order proposing a full Sheltered Market Program.
Read Chapter 30B, Section 18
Massachusetts General Laws allow cities to establish Sheltered Market Programs according to specific rules.
The Sheltered Market Program was established based on findings from the City's 2021 Disparity Study.
Sheltered Market Pilot Program Report
Read the City's report on the results of the Sheltered Market Pilot.