Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Wolf Administration built on its commitment to support small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania with nearly $856 million in state contract spending for fiscal year 2020-2021. The Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) detailed the record-setting contract spend – a 30 percent increase from the previous year’s total – in the Bureau’s 2021 Annual Report.
“I am excited to share that for the first time in the history of the commonwealth, more than 20 percent of our total state contracting spend went to small, diverse and veteran businesses,” Governor Wolf said. “This is a true milestone for our efforts to improve diversity, equity, inclusion and fairness in state contracting, and builds on our work throughout this administration to provide opportunities for small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses to succeed.”
In 2020-2021, the commonwealth contract spend was up 15 percent to $4.2 billion from $3.7 billion the previous year. Along with that increase in total spend, spending with small businesses, small diverse businesses, and veteran business enterprises rose to nearly $856 million or 20.25 percent of total expenditures. Spending with small diverse businesses saw the biggest percentage increase from 9.63 percent up to 11.72 percent.
In 2020-2021, the Small Business Reserve program delivered $43 million in spend to small businesses over 668 contracting opportunities. The Small Diverse Business (SDB) and Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE) Goal setting programs, which were launched in the previous year, resulted in significant gains. The SDB Goal setting program was used by the commonwealth on 340 projects with an estimated project value totaling $1.7 billion, and the VBE program saw an increase of $4 million in spend with veteran-owned businesses. In addition, 100 new firms became self-certified to do business with the commonwealth.
“Since 2015, the commonwealth has spent more than $3.5 billion with small, diverse and veteran businesses,” Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper said. “The growth of our programs and progress we’ve made has been the direct result of a committed and dedicated effort to create opportunity and equity for our small, diverse and veteran business communities. Now is the time when we must continue the dedication and commitment to ensure the continuation of this success in the years ahead.”
In 2021, Gov. Wolf and Sec. Topper also called on legislators, business owners and members of the public to support Senate Bill 900, ground-breaking, bipartisan legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate to guarantee the future of BDISBO-administered programs. Senate Bill 900 would ensure that the successful programs and policies established during the last seven years will remain in place well into the future. Currently more than 5,000 small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania benefit from programs administered by BDISBO.
“This fall I was proud to stand with a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce Senate Bill 900,” said Gov. Wolf. “Now, I call on the Republican leaders in the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 900 and send it to my desk. Small, diverse and veteran businesses in Pennsylvania deserve the security that this legislation will provide.”
Governor Wolf established the BDISBO in 2015 to create a more diverse, inclusive and fair state contracting environment for small businesses, veteran-owned businesses and small diverse businesses – businesses owned by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans, individuals with disabilities and members of the LGBT community.
Visit the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunity for more detailed information on the new policies and programs as well as the Wolf Administration’s efforts to diversify state contracting and opportunities for small and diverse businesses.