Mercer County recently announced a set-aside program for which minority-owned businesses (MBEs), women-owned businesses (WBEs), veteran-owned businesses (VOBs), and small businesses (SBEs) are eligible.
By the terms of the ordinance, 10 percent of the dollar value of all the County's goods, professional services, and construction contracts will be set aside for the use of qualified businesses in those categories. Of that 10 percent, 30 percent is set aside for MBEs, 30 percent for WBEs, 30 percent for VOBs, and 10 percent for SBEs.
The total value of this 10 percent of overall contracting within said categories which makes up the new program is estimated at $7 million. In addition to establishing the set-aside itself, the ordinance provides for the Mercer County Purchasing Department to provide assistance to eligible businesses in understanding the program and how to use it. Certifications are not made by Mercer County itself, but those made by the State of New Jersey are considered valid for the purposes of the program. More information on the certification process is available at https://www.nj.gov/njbusiness/contracting/.
The set-aside ordinance was adopted on July 12, 2018 by the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and has been effective since that date.