The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus has an extensive history when it comes to increasing support for minority businesses. It is not uncommon to see our institutions of higher education that are not state institutions sometimes forgotten when it comes to setting diverse business practice requirements, yet OLBC member, Senator Charleta Tavares has taken notice. She began the 132nd general assembly with introducing Senate Bill 15 which would expand minority business set-asides to community colleges, state community colleges, technical colleges, and university branches.
SB 15 makes it mandatory that community colleges, state community colleges, technical colleges, and university branches comply with minority business enterprise set-aside requirements, and additionally require the Director of Administrative Services to establish guidelines for such entities. This would increase the number of contract opportunities whether it be construction or additional services provided for these institutions by minority entities. Current Ohio law requires that state agencies set-aside 15 percent in each fiscal year for goods and services contracting opportunities exclusively for certified minority businesses. All state universities and the Northeast Ohio Medical University are currently under MBE requirements but there are at least twenty-six community colleges in the state of Ohio that aren’t subject to such requirements due to their non-state agency status.
Additionally, SB 15 requires an expansion of participation with the EDGE program to these non-state institutions of higher education. EDGE stands for Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity. It is a program designed to increase business opportunity for those owners who would traditionally be considered socially or economically disadvantaged. Business enterprises who can fall under EDGE are those businesses that are certified by the Department of Administrative Services as being owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who reside in Ohio and as being socially and economically disadvantaged, based on certain criteria. SB 15 would require the Director of Administrative Services to adopt rules under the Administrative Procedure Act, through which guidelines would be created to allow community colleges, state community colleges, technical colleges, university branches, and the Northeast Ohio Medical University to establish procurement goals for contracting with EDGE business enterprises in the exact same way state institutions are currently required.
Here is how you can help with making Senate Bill 15 become law. After a bill is introduced it then goes on to committee. The committee that oversees SB 15 is the Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee. You can call members of that committee and let them know why you believe SB 15 is important to you and your community and urge them to support moving SB 15 out of committee. It is a small task but can have an enormous ripple in ensuring that everyone is doing their part to make sure that minority business enterprises have a seat at the table wherever the table may be present.
The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus seeks to promote, foster, and sponsor education, civic, and political activities that enrich and improve African American communities across the state of Ohio through the efforts of the members of Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. To find out more about the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus or Senator Charleta Tavares visit
Published in OhioMBE – June 1, 2018 – pdf