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After completing a rigorous bidding process, Darby Bruno, CEO of BEI, received the news that she was selected as a vendor on Statewide Contract ITS53 for information technology professional services.

Bruno described one of the surprises she experienced after being selected for ITS53. “Although my company is both small and woman-owned, I didn’t realize that becoming a statewide contractor meant that I had to commit to a certain amount of spend with SDO-certified diverse businesses. Participating in The Series was critical to fulfilling my commitment, but it was so much more than that.”

The MA Supplier Diversity Regional Series was a collaborative effort in 2015 among Governor Baker’s Office of Access and Opportunity, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the Operational Services Division (OSD), and the OSD Supplier Diversity Office (SDO), where Bruno was able to meet a number of organizations with which to collaborate on goods and services for her own company.

“I met nearly all of my diverse suppliers at The Series event. I would encourage all Statewide Contract holders to attend these events and really network with the businesses there. It’s a true community, not just a database of potential connections. The SDO-certified suppliers I met at The Series are the nicest people to work with and the quality of goods and services I’ve received for my own business is outstanding.”

One of those SDO-certified supplier attendees was Doreen Blades, President and Founder of US Eco Products. Blades is passionate about supply-chain diversity and believes strongly in the power of networking. As such, she’s also a proponent of The Series, albeit from the supplier/small business perspective. Through her participation in The Series, Blades has made inroads with various government departments and quasi-public agencies with huge profit potential. “Not only have I met corporations and agencies with whom to do business, I’ve also met other businesses like mine; we can all help one another with access and connections.”

When asked what advice she would give to other diverse businesses hoping to become involved in statewide contracting, Blades emphasized the importance of presence and persistence: “Just show up! You have nothing to lose by attending networking events like The Series, so make every effort to be there. It’s all about the network. Once you make a connection, it’s not about their contract or your certification—it’s about knowing your customers, what they need, and what their pain points are. Don’t give up, follow up!”

Bruno echoed Blades’ insistence on getting involved with programs and events. Additionally, she highlighted the work of the SDO: “it provides access to contracts, opportunities in the Commonwealth, resources, and partner companies to use their products and services I need to run my business. The Series humanized these connections and changed the way I do business.”

About the MA Supplier Diversity Regional Series
The MA Supplier Diversity Regional Series aims to develop a partnership among the Commonwealth, local municipalities, and private buyers that will assist small and diverse businesses by:

  • Convening procurement representatives from state, municipal, and private organizations with small and diverse business owners;
  • Promoting networking between small and diverse businesses with buyers and key procurement decision makers; and
  • Providing small and diverse businesses with access to capacity-building resources.

Look for details about the upcoming Series events soon!

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