Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today launched the first in a series of public meetings as part of a Commonwealth Disparity Study to hear from small and small diverse businesses about the barriers they face when attempting to get a state contract.
“There must be a level playing field for all companies – from big corporations to small and small diverse businesses – to have the opportunity to compete for a state contract,” said Governor Wolf. “We want those small businesses to know that we’re listening to them and we will use the results of this study to modernize the procurement process to remove disparities and give every talented business a fair chance.”
In September 2015, Governor Wolf signed an executive order solidifying the administration’s commitment to improving the participation of small and small diverse businesses in state government contracting and the commonwealth’s overall economy. Small diverse businesses are those owned by minorities, women, LGBT, veterans and people with disabilities.
The Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunity was created by the executive order to develop policy and programmatic recommendations to increase state contracting opportunities for small and small diverse businesses. Their work led to the commonwealth’s first-ever statewide disparity study, which was recently expanded to include PennDOT’s transportation and infrastructure contracting. The study’s results will provide information about whether small diverse businesses face discrimination in the state contracting process.
Prior to the Wolf Administration, contracts for legal services were rarely, if ever, awarded to small or small diverse businesses – even as a subcontractor. Since Governor Wolf directed the implementation of a competitive process for legal services, 68 percent of all contracts awarded have a commitment to small and small diverse businesses.
“Since becoming Governor, I have worked hard to broaden the commonwealth’s emphasis on diversity, inclusion and fairness as a guiding principle for how our economy works,” said Governor Wolf. “To keep our progress on track, we need the input and support of small diverse businesses to ensure that when the commonwealth does business, we attract the full range of talent that Pennsylvania has to offer.”
During the public meetings, small and small diverse businesses can provide public or private testimony on their experiences with the commonwealth’s contracting process. More meetings will be scheduled throughout the commonwealth.
Interested individuals can attend the next meeting:
- Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017; 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at The Enterprise Center 4548 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19139.
No registration is required. For more information, contact the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities at 717-705-5865.
Earlier in the day, Governor Wolf spoke his administration’s commitment to diversity during a forum on minority and women-owned businesses at Jefferson University.