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States and Localities Review and Revamp Minority Contracting Programs


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Recently, a number of state and local governments have begun taking a close look at their existing Minority and Women-owned contracting programs. A number of intergovernmental groups, such as the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, have advocated for additional assistance to minority-owned firms. The State of Maryland and the City of New York are two particular examples of this increased focus.

On May 10, 2011, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed Senate Bill 120 into law which aims to change the way the state contracts with minority-owned businesses.

SB 120, introduced by State Senator Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore City), reauthorizes the state’s Minority Business Enterprise Program for an additional year through July 1, 2012. It also repeals a requirement that procurement procedures seek to award 7% and 10% of a unit's total dollar value of contracts to African-American-owned and women-owned businesses respectively. In its place, SB 120 sets a universal goal of 25% for all certified minority-owned businesses.

SB 120 also seeks to curb the use of minority firms as pass-throughs by requiring that the Board of Public Works issue regulations to clarify that minority firms must serve a commercially useful function in bids submitted.

In February of this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the City of New York launched the Corporate Alliance Program, a new initiative that will connect certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises to contracting and capacity-building opportunities in the private sector.

According to a press release issued by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the Department will work with its partners from 11 major corporations establish four initiatives to connect City-certified firms to opportunities in the private sector. These initiatives include corporate skills training, recruitment services to match qualified MBEs with specific opportunities, mentoring services, and a construction training program to do business with university and corporate facilities.

The 11 founding corporate partners include: Accenture, American Express, BNY Mellon, Colgate-Palmolive, Citigroup, Columbia University, Con Edison, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, IBM and National Grid.

MBDA works closely with numerous states and intergovernmental organizations to forward the growth of the minority business community. MBDA works with these stakeholders in holding Business-2-Business linkage forums, procurement events, and roundtable discussions.

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