Publisher’s Note: State’s WBEs get an expiration extension

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

I will repeat it for the folks in the back of the room, NOBODY is looking out for Black-owned businesses at the Statehouse.  I have reported that over 300 MBEs certifications expired during the Covid pandemic. Ohio extended extensions and grace to drivers and taxpayers but not minority-owned businesses during the health crisis.  Ohio’s most vulnerable business owners were removed from the certification rolls in many cases without notification of the expiration.  Businesses that could benefit from the access to contracting, loan, and bonding opportunities that certification affords. 

Yesterday, I received an email from the Ohio Dept. of Development. It was notifying WBEs of an extension for their certification expiration. The email reads: 

In October, the Ohio Department of Development extended the certification expiration date for some Women-Owned Business Enterprises to Dec. 31, 2022. This email serves as a reminder to check your certification expiration date and renew your certification if necessary. View the WBE Certification List online to locate your certification expiration date. Please note the Women-Owned Business Enterprises recertification application is attached for your use.

If you have any questions, please contact the Minority Business Development Division at 614-466-5700 or dev-eod.bccu@development.ohio.gov.

At Development, we’re here to help!

So in essence, Black folks were removed from the certification program during a global pandemic and White women were given an extension during the aftermath.  I have questioned, why Ohio needs a WBE certification versus a Black women certification.  Businesses owned by white are doing pretty well compared to their Black counterparts. The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express says Black women-owned businesses represent the highest growth of any group between 2014 and 2019.  However, 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 government officials concerned with the income disparities between Black and white women business owners? How are they actively working to compact the dual-isms Black women face in the business world and in government purchasing or is our state government simply allowing white women to piggyback on the suffering and struggles of Black folks AGAIN!

White women are still white and are the beneficiaries of that privilege.  It appears the privilege includes certification expiration extensions.

Just my thoughts…rwb

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