HARRISBURG, PA — The Wolf Administration’s effort to increase state contracts with small and small diverse business set a record with nearly $800 million in payments for the last fiscal year, Governor Tom Wolf announced this week. Increasing diversity and inclusion among state contractors is a priority to the governor.
“This is fantastic news for Pennsylvania’s small and diverse business communities,” Governor Wolf said. “We have taken some deliberate actions to increase the quantity and quality of state government contracting opportunities for small and diverse businesses and now they are beginning to pay off.”
For the first time in state’s history, 11 percent of commonwealth spending on goods, services and construction went to small diverse businesses, according to an annual report released today by the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Businesses Opportunities within the Department of General Services.
Improvements in FY 2018-19 from the previous fiscal year include:
- 47 percent increase in state payments to small diverse businesses to $485 million from $300 million.
- 46 percent increase in small business payments to $303 million from $207 million,
- 557 small diverse businesses were awarded contracts, up from 488.
The governor established the BDISBO in 2015 to create more diverse, inclusive and fair state contracting environment for small businesses, veteran-owned businesses and small diverse businesses – businesses owned by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans, individuals with disabilities and members of the LGBT community.
A key to the success has been the commonwealth’s commitment to using the best value contracting process to increase SDB participation in contracting opportunities. Additional factors include an agency-level program to ensure that SB/SDB contracting opportunities are part of all annual purchasing plans; and the involvement of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Businesses Opportunities in making policy and program recommendations.
“The progress we’ve seen definitely brings us closer to our goal to do 26 percent of our business with small diverse businesses,” said State Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper “A priority for us moving forward will be to implement programs to aid us in expanding the number of registered small and diverse businesses we have available to take advantage of the contracting opportunities we’re creating and the way we track our spending with them.”
Next steps for BDISBO include a SB/SDB recruitment campaign and the implementation of a more effective data collection and tracking system for contracting and payment interactions. Also in 2020, a new methodology will be introduced to increase SB/SDB usage through the RFP, IFB and RFQ contracting methods. A program for increasing veteran-owned business participation for those contracting methods is being explored as well.
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