Interise is a national not-for-profit based in Boston that builds diverse and inclusive local economies through small business-led economic development, supporting the growth of small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and small businesses located in low-wealth communities.
Since 2004, we have provided more than 9,000 small businesses with our award-winning program, the StreetWise ‘MBA’. Through this 7-month long program, small business owners receive the management education, access to new markets and procurement opportunities, peer networks, and additional resources needed to grow their businesses. Historically, Interise companies have achieved great success, with average revenue growth of 36% and a job creation rate 4x that of the private sector. Of important note, companies owned by people of color and/or located in low-wealth areas grow at a significantly higher rate, especially when they are successful in securing contracts.
Interise has 25 full-time employees and supports a network of 80+ instructors from around the country.
Interise and Building MWBE Supplier Capacity
At the core of its mission, Interise seeks to provide minority business enterprises (MBEs) with the tools they need to pursue procurement opportunities. Why, because Interise data tells us that the fastest way for MBEs to grow and become financially stable is through the securing of public and private contracts.
Massachusetts has close to 700,000 small businesses of which approximately 10% are minority owned. Major cities and gateway cities (Boston, Brockton, Lynn, Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, Springfield, Taunton, New Bedford, Fall River) have the most minority-owned businesses. Unfortunately, at best only 1.5% of minority-owned small businesses are successful in securing contract, which is the #1 revenue growth driver for any small business. We must address this at multiple levels, including making sure minority-owned businesses are contract-ready.
Key to creating any Supplier Capacity Building Program is the recruitment of the right small business participants – established companies poised ready to scale their business across all industries. Interise works in collaboration with its partners to ensure that we find just such companies. Whether it is for general contracting purposes or industry-specific contracting, Interise has the experience and connections.
Often, we develop a certification protocol with our partners so that the companies are certified to work with a company or on a certain type of project, i.e., XYZ Company is a Certified Partner(s) of Massachusetts contractor. This allows the small business to market the program and certification into other opportunities.
Interise’s Supplier Capacity Building Program consists of several program elements; but at its core is our award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum, which is supplemented by additional procurement programming and online technology platform focused on the needs, gaps and opportunities small business owners must have to succeed in securing contracts. In addition, the program supports networking activity so that MWBEs and ‘buyers can build and reinforce relationships.
If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Deirdre Coyle at [email protected].
Foundational Interise Expertise
Partnerships and Collaborations
Interise partners with organizations across the country over 70 cities. Among our most significant collaborations focused on procurement:
- Birmingham Business Alliance program
- New York City Small Businesses program, Scaling For Growth
- City of Boston, MWBE Capacity Building Program
- City of Houston, Build Up Houston
- City of Charlotte, NC & the National Basketball Association, AMP UP! Charlotte
- Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, Scaling4Growth
- Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Minority Business Accelerator
In partnership, we have an opportunity to have a real and immediate impact on stabilizing and scaling MWBEs as well as develop a healthy and robust pipeline of procurement ready MWBEs.
Interise’s Leadership in Equitable Anchor Procurement Work
In addition to executing our programming, Interise is continuing to analyze and study the potential of anchor institutions through our Leadership in Equitable Anchor Procurement (LEAP) initiative – which launched here in Boston in 2016. LEAP seeks to realign the procurement system for long term beneficial outcomes by deeply understanding the anchor institution procurement system to achieve the mutually beneficial goal of expanding the number and size of contracts awarded to small local MWBEs. It is based on the supposition that the members of the system, working together, can realign the system to achieve this goal. Successful delivery of procurement opportunities is a vital avenue to growing and scaling established small businesses.
Since our initial LEAP convening in Boston, we have expanded this work to cities across the country, including Houston, TX, Mobile, Al, Newark, NJ, Bronx and Queens, NY. Additionally, with support from our network, we have developed a series of ongoing seminars to complement the business foundations covered in the SBS curriculum for procurement-based growth, tailored specifically to meet the growing and changing needs of small business owners.
Seminar topics include:
- Estimating and Bidding
- Bonding and Insurance
- Joint Venturing
- Speed Networking (matchmaking session attended by MBEs, WBEs, and buyers)
Coupled with the on-the-ground partnership and expertise from cities, mentors/coaches, and subject matter experts, we have built out a powerful and practical collaboration that prepares minority business enterprises (MBE) and women-owned businesses (WBEs) for procurement with city’s top anchor institutions, corporations, government, and other large purchasers.