A New Dawn for Small Enterprises in Pennsylvania: State Paves Way for Increased Contracting Opportunities

Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS)

HARRISBURG, PA — As Pennsylvania’s small businesses adjust to the rapidly changing business landscape, the state has embarked on an aggressive push to level the playing field. The Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) has announced its effort to bolster outreach to Small Businesses (SBs) and Small Diverse Businesses (SDBs) across the commonwealth, offering them a more substantial opportunity to compete for state contracting opportunities.

Through the DGS’s Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO), the state extends regular communication to over 5,000 SB and SDB advocates and stakeholder organizations, keeping them abreast of potential contracting and construction opportunities.

The initiative is an integral component of a broader strategy by Governor Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor Davis to transform Pennsylvania’s business landscape. Their goal is clear: to expand opportunities for Pennsylvania’s small and diverse business communities. This relentless push to engage small business vendors in state contracting opportunities is pivotal in growing the state’s small business portfolio.

The DGS’s concerted outreach efforts include statewide stakeholder events, as well as the inaugural small business empowerment summit aimed at fostering relationships within the small business community. The state has also made significant strides in streamlining processes to offer more resources to SBs and SDBs and continually seeks new ways to reach and support small diverse businesses in their pursuit of state contracting opportunities.

In a fruitful partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of State, DGS works to increase the number of SBs and SDBs registered with BDISBO. This partnership has resulted in changes to business registration and amendment forms to glean information about the nature of the businesses applying, qualifying them for state contracting opportunities.

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These efforts follow the Executive Order Governor Shapiro signed in September 2023 aimed at opening new opportunities for small and diverse businesses. It puts DGS at the helm of coordinating efforts with other Commonwealth agencies and the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Inclusive Procurement (PACIP) to increase their total operational spend and participation in the Commonwealth’s Small Business Reserve (SBR) program.

This commitment to transparency was underlined by DGS’s recent mid-year Small Business Reserve (SBR) Report, revealing an uptick in prime contracting opportunities for small businesses. In the first six months of the 2023-24 fiscal year, the Commonwealth spent over $22 million on SB prime contracts, accomplishing 462 purchase orders (POs) with 158 SBs.

Additionally, the Commonwealth has improved BDISBO-administered programs and policies, including reducing certification time for a small business and implementing a 10-day payment policy for non-construction primary contractors. Regular workshops and notifications of forthcoming opportunities form part of these improvements.

The outreach initiative is no doubt poised to be a game-changer for small businesses looking to engage with the Commonwealth. With Notice of Forthcoming Procurements and Notice of Forthcoming Construction Opportunities dispatched monthly, SBs, SDBs, and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBEs) registered with BDISBO are well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.

When SBs, SDBs, and VBEs register with BDISBO, they receive the monthly Notices of Forthcoming Procurements and Construction Opportunities. Those interested in registering their business with BDISBO can reach out via email at gs-bdisbo@pa.gov.

Registered SBs and SDBs with BDISBO can check upcoming procurements and their proposed issue dates at www.emarketplace.state.pa.us. To access a list of upcoming construction bidding opportunities, visit the DGS Design and Construction Bidding page.

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Undeniably, this surge of support for SBs and SDBs demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to fueling a diverse and robust economy. As businesses seize these newly available opportunities, Pennsylvania looks set to usher in an era of inclusive growth, where every entity, regardless of size, has a fair shot at success.

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