How minority businesses can win more state contracts

Contracts with minority-owned businesses have reached record levels of spending, as state government strives to bid even more contracts each year to minority- and women-owned companies.

During fiscal year 2014 ending June 30, Ohio awarded $165 million in contracts to 282 minority-owned businesses statewide, according to Ohio Development Services Agency.

In efforts by state government to reach higher spending levels with these Ohio business owners, the development department is organizing meetings Thursday in Dayton and the following Monday in Cincinnati. The events are open to local business owners to learn about how they can win more business with various state-run agencies, and obtain certification that qualifies them for certain government contracts.

“We’re going to be talking about the success of the past year,” said Jackie Williams, chief of the Minority Business Development Division within development services.

“We’re also going to talk about how business owners in that community can access those business opportunities,” Williams said.

Thursday’s meeting is 11 a.m. to noon at Montgomery County Job Center, at 1111 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton.

Monday’s meeting is noon to 1 p.m. at American Red Cross-Cincinnati Area Chapter, at 2111 Dana Ave., Cincinnati.

Businesses seeking more information, but unable to attend one of the meetings can get help anytime from one of six Minority Business Assistance Centers statewide funded by Ohio Development Services Agency.

Dayton’s center is located at the city’s Human Relations Council, 371 W. Second St., Dayton. For more information, call (937) 333-1002.

Cincinnati’s center is located at the African American Chamber of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, 2945 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati. For more information, call 513-751-9900.

All state contracts are open to any bidders. But, businesses that obtain certifications such as Minority Business Enterprise and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) can qualify for certain state contracts that are set aside for minority-owned and other disadvantaged businesses only. Certifications also qualify those businesses for additional loan and bond funding programs, Williams said.

“We think some of these companies will reach a scale and a size where they’ll be able to hire other people,” Williams said.

“It’s part of an overall economic development strategy because as we know most jobs are created by small businesses in the community,” she said.

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