Governor Wolf Announces LGBT-Owned and Disabled-Owned Businesses to be Recognized as Small Diverse Businesses

Harrisburg, PA – Citing a pressing need to improve opportunities in state contracting for small diverse businesses (SDBs) and small businesses (SBs), Governor Tom Wolf and State General Services Secretary Curt Topper today announced that the administration will formally recognize LGBT-owned and Disabled-owned businesses as SDBs as part of a larger initiative to make significant policy and procedural changes in the commonwealth’s approach to awarding competitive contracts for goods and services.

“These changes are both overdue and necessary,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Everyone agrees that state government contracting should be competitive, inclusive and fair for every small business looking to do business with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yet, as a percentage of real dollars spent, the value of state contracts with small and small diverse businesses has declined over the last five years. We needed to change our approach.”

The major changes rolled out include:

  • Formally recognizing LGBT-owned and Disabled-owned businesses as SDBs.
  • Simplifying the proposal scoring process for Requests for Proposals, to make it easier for prime contractors and subcontractors to understand the requirements.
  • Promoting and tracking the participation of registered small businesses as subcontractors. Prime contractors who propose to subcontract with registered small businesses will receive credit for doing so in addition to the credit they receive for subcontracting with DGS verified small diverse businesses.
  • Requiring that prime contractors execute formal subcontracts with their SB/SDB partners to help ensure that commitments are met.
  • Implementing stronger penalties for prime contractors who fail to meet their contractual obligations either to SBs/SDBs, or to the Commonwealth.

“With this initiative, we intend to make it clear that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania desires to do more of its business with small and small diverse businesses, not less,” Secretary Topper noted. “The dollars we spend with these firms, whether directly and through subcontracts, all help to build capacity, sustain economic growth and ultimately produce ‘Jobs that Pay’ in Pennsylvania’s disadvantaged communities.

“These changes are just the beginning. As we move forward we will continue to work with the Governor’s Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities Advisory Council to identify other areas where we can improve state contracting and provide assistance to our small diverse businesses and small business.”

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