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State of Virginia commissions disparity study


VA News - Published Feb 18, 2020

The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) is commissioning a disparity which will examine procurement opportunities for minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs) in the state. The study was mandated by an Excecutive Order issued by Governor Ralph Northam in July of 2019, and will be the first disparity study since 2011 to be performed on MWBEs.

The report, which is scheduled to be completed in December of 2020, is expected to examine the availability of MWBEs within the state of Virginia relative to their rate of utilization in public contracting. The prior disparity study in 2011 found that only 2.82 percent of total state contracts were awarded to MWBEs. The Executive Order Northam issued in 2019, by contrast, mandates that state agencies use at least 42 percent of their discretionary spending on small, woman-, and minority-owned businesses (known as SWaMs under the state certification program).

"Every Virginian should be able to participate in our thriving economy," said Governor Northam. "This disparity study will be an important tool in making sure that women- and minority-owned businesses have a fair shot when competing for state procurement contracts, which represent over $6 billion annually."

The study is expected to form part of the analysis regarding what measures will be needed to remedy disparities in state contracting if such disparities are found. Such measures could include changes to existing programs or new programs. The study will also help ensure that any such programs are capable of holding up to legal scrutiny.

Read the 2019 Executive Order at https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/executive-actions/EO-35-Advancing-Equity-for-Small-,-Women-,-Minority-,-and-Service-Disabled-Veteran-owned-Businesses-in-State-Contracting.pdf.