Certification benefits minority businesses

The Bob Ross Auto Group has tripled its vehicle sales to the state of Ohio since 2011 because of its Minority Business Enterprise certification, the dealership’s general manager said Thursday at a meeting for local business owners in Dayton.

This year through July, Bob Ross Auto sold the state 289 vehicles, generating $7.4 million in sales, compared to 93 vehicles and $2.3 million in sales for the same period in 2011, said Butch Spencer, the Centerville new-car dealership’s general manager.

“This program has been very profitable for our dealership,” said Spencer, who encouraged area business owners to obtain Minority Business Enterprise certification to benefit their businesses.

The state spent $165 million with minority-owned businesses in fiscal year 2014, up from $106 million the previous budget year.

The Dayton region has 114 certified minority-owned businesses, representing less than 10 percent of the total 1,226 in Ohio, according to Ohio Development Services Agency data obtained by this newspaper.

Thursday’s meeting at the Montgomery County Job Center was the second of seven such events the agency will hold statewide through September. State officials discussed how area business owners can win more business with various state-run agencies, and obtain certification that qualifies them for certain government contracts.

The goal is to get more area businesses involved with the state program, said Jackie Williams, chief of the agency’s Minority Business Development division.

“Especially in the case where we have a deficit of companies that we’ve been able to identify, we want to get the word out that the opportunity is real and connect them with resources,” Williams said.

Another public meeting will be held noon Monday at the American Red Cross, 2111 Dana Ave. in Cincinnati.

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