Certification in Ohio
by Ronda Watson Barber
Certification in Ohio is a hot mess. The Governor says he and his administration are committed to minority-owned businesses. As I stated in the last issue of OhioMBE, actions speak louder than words.
A few weeks ago, a cross-section of stakeholders got together for one week in an attempt to resolve Ohio’s certifications woes.
Certification is a process that determines ownership and control of a for-profit business. The State of Ohio has two programs that offer certification to small businesses. One program is race-based, Minority Business Enterprise. It includes the four protected racial classes: Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American. The EDGE, Encouraging Growth Diversity and Equity, program issues certification to those businesses who owners are both socially and economically disadvantaged.
The state has a two contracting goals as it pertains to certified MBE and EDGE businesses. According to state law, 15 percent of goods and services are to be procured with certified minority owned businesses and five percent of construction projects and goods and services are to be contracted with EDGE businesses.
In OhioMBE’s recent survey of minority owned businesses many provided the following comments on certification: “too much paperwork”; “too many requirements”; “lengthy process”’; and “they lost my paperwork”.
The process for minority business certification should be an easy task for small business owners. Most are busy working their trades and running their businesses. The process should not be overly time consuming. What does it really take to prove that a business is owned and controlled by a designated racial minority? Why the barriers?
OhioMBE hopes that the taxpayer dollars and time spent reviewing and revising the certification process will be put into action ASAP.
Just my thoughts…