Photo by STEPHEN POORE on Unsplash

An Executive Order (EO) that aims to establish programs and goals to expand state contracting opportunities for service disabled veteran-, small, women- and minority-owned business in Virginia was signed by Governor Ralph Northam.

The EO directs executive branch agencies to procure 42% of their discretionary spending from certified small businesses. It also requires set-aside contracts for microbusinesses with no more than $3 million in annual revenues and less than 25 employees.

Northam requires an updated disparity study to determine whether these businesses still suffer from disparate treatment. Previous disparate studies found that only 1.27% of state contracts were awarded to service disabled veteran-, small, women- and minority-owned business in 2004 and only 2.82% in 2011. It is important to improve opportunities for these businesses because they make up 97% of all businesses in Virginia.

Cabinet secretaries will monitor the spending of their institutions and agencies with certified small businesses. The Secretary of Commerce and Trade will be responsible for assessing overall state performance and for issuing a report to the governor every three months.