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Department of General Services Has Reduced Business Certification Time by 33% to Better Serve Pennsylvania's Small Business Community


Harrisburg, PA – As part of Governor Josh Shapiro's commitment to making government work for all, the Department of General Services has made significant strides in expanding state contracting opportunities for Pennsylvania's small minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. Most notably, the Department has reduced the time it takes the Department's Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) to certify a small business by 33%.

"When I took the post as Secretary of General Services, one of my first tasks was to evaluate the services and programs provided by the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities, which aims to create a more fair and equitable landscape in the competition for state contracts," said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. "Reducing the Bureau's certification time was a change that we realized we could implement immediately and would have a positive impact on the small businesses looking to work with the commonwealth. DGS is proud of this accomplishment and certain that it will create more opportunities for small and minority owned businesses."

Prior to Secretary McNeil joining the Department, it took businesses 15 days to become certified with the Department of General Services. With the addition of updated software and Bureau staff, the Secretary and BDISBO were able to devise and execute a plan to reduce the certification time to 10 days. This change took effect in May – only four months after the Secretary's appointment. The additional staff support also strengthens the Bureau's ability to maintain continuity of operations across its certification and verification processes.

Additionally, BDISBO has made updates to its website that enhance the user experience, like simplifying where to find certification information, and previously extended the business certification renewal from annually to every 2 years. These developments not only lessen stress on small businesses, but they create more efficient processes, allowing businesses to put more time and focus into their operations.  

Secretary McNeil has implemented several other improvements to the programs and policies administered by BDISBO, that will improve the quality of the overall experience of small, diverse and veteran businesses looking to do business with the Commonwealth and increase the number of opportunities available to them. 

These improvements include: 

  • Conducting Supplier Search workshops aimed at educating small minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses on the value of having a complete and up to date vendor profile.
  • Conducting direct outreach to small businesses on upcoming contracting opportunities to enable them to better coordinate their attention and resources.
  • Implementing an awareness campaign to help small businesses better understand how to navigate the Commonwealth's contracting processes through the entire lifecycle, from registration, responding to solicitations, award, compliance and contract close-out.
  • Setting the groundwork to ensure subcontractors – which are typically smaller businesses – are paid for their work promptly by reducing the timeframe for prime contractors to pay subcontractors to 10 days from when the prime contractor on a job receives their payment from the state. 
  • Prioritizing the Department's engagement with other state agencies to identify ways they can increase their spending with small businesses through DGS' Small Business Reserve Program, which sets aside contracting opportunities specifically for small businesses to compete for.  

Secretary McNeil's priorities for the Department also include identifying ways to improve and streamline the Commonwealth's procurement system and rightsizing the Commonwealth's owned and leased real estate portfolio to better respond to the future needs of the state's workforce.

To learn more about BDISBO or to certify your small business (SB), small diverse business (SDB), or veteran business enterprise (VBE), visit BDISBO's page on the DGS website.

Contact: Madeline Williams,

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