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Shapiro Administration Increases Opportunities for Small Diverse Businesses to Secure Commonwealth Contracts

Voluntary information collected from companies expands pool of eligible vendors

02/23/2024

Harrisburg, PA – In keeping with Governor Shapiro's commitment to enhance opportunities for small diverse businesses to compete for state contracts, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt announced today the Department of State is gathering voluntarily submitted information from small businesses and sending it to the Department of General Services (DGS).

"This change is a win-win because it ensures that tax dollars stay here in the Commonwealth, rather than going to companies in other states, while also getting more contracts for our small diverse businesses, which allows those Pennsylvania companies to grow and hire more employees," Schmidt said.

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 about whether their business qualifies as a small business, small diverse business, or a veteran business enterprise. Each week, BCCO shares the collected information with DGS' Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO).

"Partnering with the Department of State to gather this pertinent information as soon as possible builds on the steps that the Shapiro-Davis Administration has already taken to open new doors of opportunity for small, small diverse, and veteran-owned businesses," DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil said. "This direct feed of information will give us the opportunity to contact these small businesses and help them move along the road of success."

BCCO's latest weekly report to DGS included filings submitted between Feb. 8 and Feb. 15, when nearly 300 businesses provided the requested information.

"BDISBO staff review the list to identify new businesses that could be walked through their certification process to be added to the growing pool of vendors the Commonwealth can work with," Schmidt said. "This partnership between agencies gives those businesses a better shot at competing for government contracts."

In September, Governor Shapiro signed Executive Order 2023-18, which directed DGS, under McNeil's leadership, to foster more competitive procurement and to increase the amount of spending for goods and services that goes to small and small diverse businesses.

Among McNeil's first steps under the executive order was updating the Commonwealth's definition of a small business by raising the revenue limit qualification. Now, a business with 100 or fewer full-time employees that brings in less than an average of $47 million over three years qualifies as a small business. If that business is third-party-certified as being owned by a woman, a minority, an individual with a disability, a member of the LGBTQ community, or a service-disabled veteran, it qualifies as a small diverse business.

The executive order also requires DGS to lead and coordinate efforts with other agencies to increase their total operational spending and participation in the Commonwealth's Small Business Reserve (SBR) program. As part of the Shapiro Administration's commitment to transparency and accountability, DGS will post semiannual data for each agency's total operational spending for SBR procurements.

DGS has already made significant strides to support small diverse businesses by reducing the time it takes BDISBO to certify a small business by 33 percent and by implementing a prompt pay policy so small, small diverse, and veteran-owned businesses with state contracts receive payments faster.

Pennsylvania small business and small diverse business owners can find details on BDISBO, Commonwealth contracting opportunities, and other resources on BDISBO's website. All business owners can learn more about registering their business via the Department of State's online Business Filing Services portal.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Matt Heckel, DOS, ra-st-press@pa.gov

Eric Veronikis, DGS, everonikis@pa.gov


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