By Ronda Watson Barber
The State of Ohio recently made changes to the MBE and EDGE certifications programs. Rules for women’s business certification were also established. How will these changes and an additional certification affect Black-owned businesses? What impact will the WBE program have on businesses owned by Black women? I have concerns regarding the establishment of a women’s certification program. Is it necessary? What women is the program targeted to? While white women complain that they suffer discrimination in the business world, The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express says different. While Black women-owned businesses represent the highest growth of any group between 2014 and 2019. The average earned revenue for Black women-owned businesses is $24,000 per company versus $142,900 for all women-owned businesses.
The wealth gap between Black women and white women is staggering, and white women organizations are lobbying and begging for more. Are these organizations concerned with the income disparities between Black and white women business owners? Are they actively working to compact the racism Black women face in the business world or are they just piggybacking on the suffering and struggles of Black folks AGAIN! White women are still white and are the beneficiaries of that privilege.
I posed a series of questions to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Communication department regarding the WBE program. Many thanks to Mellisa Vince for the responses.
- Will the Women’s Certification program have goals?
As the WBE program is currently written into Ohio Revised Code, it does not have a procurement target – be that a set-aside (i.e., MBE), goal (i.e., EDGE), or preference (i.e., VBE
- What state entities is the WBE certification good with? Although there is not a designated procurement target for state agencies, boards, or commissions, that does not preclude WBE-certified businesses from promoting the certification to all state agencies. A list of applicable points of contact are listed as part of the Certified Business Toolkit on the DAS Equal Opportunity Division’s website.
- Will non-Ohio women have access to Ohio contracts under this program? A WBE certification serves as an indicator to any state or local agency looking to increase diversity in their supplier base. And, as we work to develop reciprocity, it gives Ohio’s women-owned business more opportunities in other jurisdictions to compete for WBE-type set-asides.
Ohio needs to establish contracting and certification programs where businesses who are truly deserving of assistance to grow and develop businesses.
Just my thoughts…rwb
To the litigious: The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791. The Constitution applies to Black people too. The views expressed in OhioMBE and the media outlets of The 912 Group are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions of The 912 Group, the editor, publisher, our staff or our advertisers.
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