Opening new business opportunities for Pennsylvania’s small businesses and small diverse businesses and improving procurement practices are the aims of Executive Order 2023-18, signed Tuesday by Gov. Josh Shapiro.
“We need to do more to help our small and small diverse businesses compete for state dollars,” Shapiro said in a statement. “That will require policies like those I’m announcing today, but most importantly, it will require a governor who gives a damn and makes sure these businesses are part of our collective progress. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do.
“By supporting our small diverse businesses, we’ll not only grow our economy and strengthen our communities – we’ll also create more competition for commonwealth business and secure higher quality products and better results for all Pennsylvanians.”
Lieutenant Gov. Austin Davis said he has seen firsthand that small businesses owned by women and Black and brown Pennsylvanians are vital to communities.
“We must support small-business owners by cutting red tape and putting resources into economic development and innovation,” said Davis. “That’s why today’s executive order is so important. We’re going to go out and actively encourage small businesses and small diverse business owners to compete for government contracts and become commonwealth vendors.”
Shapiro’s executive order directs the Department of General Services (DGS) to coordinate efforts with agencies to increase their participation in the state’s Small Business Reserve (SBR) program, foster greater competitive procurement, and increase the amount of money directed to small and small diverse businesses.
The order also establishes the Pennsylvania Advisory Council for Inclusive Procurement (PACIP) to advise agencies on ways to make state contracting opportunities more inclusive.
“Actions like this will continue changing the narrative around doing business with the commonwealth and build up Pennsylvania’s small business community – and we are moving at the speed of business,” DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil said.
DGS and PennDOT will partner to improve Pennsylvania’s contracting environment to increase its small business and small diverse business spending as a percentage of all dollars paid for goods and services by the agencies for their respective programs.
Under the new order, both agencies will also conduct outreach to the small diverse business community and provide technical support to qualifying small businesses interested in competing for state contracts. DGS and PennDOT will also designate employees to serve on an interagency working group that will assist the PACIP.
Della Clark, president and CEO of The Enterprise Center, said lifting up small and diverse businesses requires institutional buy-in at all levels.
“We view this executive order as the first step to combining contracts, capital, and expertise to intentionally grow small and diverse led businesses across the commonwealth,” said Clark.