Boston Pilot Program – Expanding Opportunity for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

Boston Pilot Program – Expanding Opportunity for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

August 2015
Cassie Mann

It’s rare that a pilot program can generate $45 million in new contracts in less than two years. But that’s just what happened when MACDC and the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) came together to create the Boston Pilot Program. For John Cruz, winning one of those contracts was “like coming out of the drought” after the great recession. Cruz Construction won the $7.5 million contract to build the Walnut Avenue Apartments, a 31-unit project developed by Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation. As a result, John Cruz has been able to build wealth in the community by hiring local residents. “Being from the community and also being a black-owned company, we have a commitment – and should have a commitment – to give more back to the community in which we reside.”

Minority-owned businesses like Cruz Construction often have a hard time getting contracts for Boston-area development projects. Women-owned businesses face a similar challenge. This means that they miss out on lucrative contracts and on the chance to grow their businesses and reach new markets. 

To address this problem, MACDC partnered with the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) to launch the Boston Pilot Program in 2013. Six CDCs, including JPNDC, came together and pledged to boost the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in their projects. 

While the City of Boston has targets for local, minority and women workers for city-funded projects under the Boston Resident Jobs Policy, there are no such requirements for projects to contract to businesses owned by women and/or people of color. The Boston Pilot Program is addressing this gap.   

By the end of 2014, the twelve participating projects had generated more than $45 million in business for minority- and women-owned firms. The projects exceeded the goal of having 30% of hard and soft costs awarded to minority-owned businesses, at 37%. Women-owned businesses received 9% of these costs, just shy of the program’s goal of 10%. This translates into real opportunity for businesses that are often overlooked or sidelined. 

As these twelve projects come to completion, the six CDCs, MMCA, and MACDC are planning the program’s next phase with a goal of sustaining and deepening the program’s impact. That’s good news for quality businesses like Cruz Construction that stand to find new opportunities for growth.

Check out the MACDC GOALs report.

Quarterly Reports Update:
As of the end of June 2015, $50 million in new contracts generated for MBE and WBE businesses.