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Shapiro Administration Increases Outreach Efforts to Help More Small Diverse Businesses Secure State Contracting Opportunities

03/01/2024

Following Governor Shapiro's Executive Order to increase opportunities for small and small diverse businesses to compete for state contracts, DGS has implemented new outreach measures to expand pool of small diverse business vendors.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) announced it has taken new steps to increase outreach to Small Businesses (SBs) and Small Diverse Businesses (SDBs) to help them apply for state contracting opportunities. ​

Each month, DGS's Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) issues a Notice of Forthcoming Procurements and a Notice of Forthcoming Construction Opportunities to over 5,000 SB and SDB advocates and stakeholder organizations registered with BDISBO.

“Governor Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor Davis are changing the narrative around doing business with the Commonwealth and have set a clear goal to increase opportunities for Pennsylvania's small and small diverse business communities. Consistent outreach to the small business community is critical in growing the number of small business vendors who participate in state contracting opportunities," said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. “DGS has held stakeholder events across the Commonwealth, hosted our first-ever small business empowerment summit to build relationships with the small business community, and streamlined our internal processes to offer more resources – and we continue to look for new ways to reach small diverse businesses to increase inclusive contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth."

DGS also has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of State to increase the number of SBs and SDBs registered with BDISBO. The Department of State's Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations (BCCO) recently changed pertinent business registration and amendment forms so filers can voluntarily submit information as to whether their business qualifies as a SB, SDB, or a Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE). The information then is sent to BDISBO and filed in the bureau's database so these businesses can compete for new state contract opportunities.

As part of the Executive Order Governor Shapiro signed in September 2023 to open new opportunities for small and small diverse businesses, DGS is leading and coordinating efforts with other Commonwealth agencies and the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Inclusive Procurement (PACIP) chaired by Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis – to increase their total operational spend and participation in the Commonwealth's SBR program and must post semiannual data for each agency's total operational spend for SBR procurements as part of the Shapiro Administration's commitment to transparency and accountability.

Last week, DGS released its mid-year Small Business Reserve (SBR) Report, announcing that the Commonwealth increased prime contracting opportunities for small businesses (SBs) during the first six months of the 2023-24 fiscal year and spent more than $22 million on SB prime contracts during the first half of the 2023-24 fiscal year, completing 462 purchase orders (POs) with 158 SBs.

“From day one, the Shapiro-Davis Administration has been laser-focused on increasing opportunities for small, small diverse and veteran-owned businesses participating in Commonwealth contracts," said Kerry Kirkland, Deputy Secretary for BDISBO. “Providing small businesses with advance notice of forthcoming procurements and construction opportunities will give them a running start and more time to complete potential bid packages. This important outreach initiative could be a game changer for many small businesses seeking Commonwealth opportunities."  

Under the Shapiro-Davis Administration, DGS has also implemented several improvements to its programs and policies administered by BDISBO to enhance the overall experience of SBs, SDBs, and VBEs looking to do business with the Commonwealth and increase the number of opportunities available to them. These improvements include: reducing the time it takes to certify a small business with DGS by 33 percent; implementing a prompt pay policy to ensure non-construction prime contractors pay subcontractors within 10 days of receiving payment from the Commonwealth; conducting frequent Supplier Search workshops aimed at educating small minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses on the available contracting opportunities within DGS's construction and commodities bureaus; and notifying businesses of upcoming contracting opportunities monthly to allow for better resource planning and statewide outreach efforts to grow the pool of registered SBs/SDBs/VBEs.

All SBs, SDBs, and VBEs registered with BDISBO receive the monthly Notice of Forthcoming Procurements and Notice of Forthcoming Construction Opportunities. Anyone who is interested in registering their business with BDISBO should email gs-bdisbo@pa.gov.

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

For more information about DGS's Small Diverse Business Programs and the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities, visit the DGS website

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Veronikis, DGS, everonikis@pa.gov

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