Upon recommendation from the Governor's Minority Employment, Business Affairs & Economic Development Council, the Finance and Administration Cabinet is now requiring executive branch agencies to reach out to ethnic minority vendors when possible to contract for goods or services.
"Doing business with the Commonwealth is not just for large companies," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "With this initiative, we are specifically asking agencies to widen their solicitation reach and try to work with ethnic minority businesses on smaller contract opportunities or figure out what portions of a contract can be fulfilled by an ethnic minority business."
The Small Purchase Authority guidelines allow executive branch agencies to solicit and contract for goods and services between $1,000 and $20,000 depending on the specific authority granted to the agency. Under these new guidelines, agencies who use their Small Purchase Authority must solicit at least one quote from ethnic minority vendors. Large procurement contracts are facilitated by the Finance Cabinet's Office of Procurement Services.
"We felt a large percentage of ethnic minorities were being precluded from doing business with the state because they lacked the capacity to handle large contracts," said Dee Dee Harbut, chair of the Governor's Minority Employment, Business Affairs & Economic Development Council. "We believe this process will help open the door for these vendors to participate in the procurement of government contracts."
Recently the Office of Procurement Services met with state agencies and provided information on how to locate ethnic minority vendors. This included using eMARS, the state's procurement system, and the SMALL BUSINESS CONNECTion website (kentucky.gov/sbc/default.aspx).
Agencies must document which businesses are solicited when quotes are issued and note which vendors are ethnic minority businesses. The success of this new process will be measured by the increase in minority businesses registration in eMARS, the increase in solicitations issued to ethnic minority businesses, the increase in quotes received from ethnic minority businesses, the increase in the number of contracts awarded to ethnic minority businesses and ultimately the increase in dollars spent with ethnic minority businesses.