Measures will promote the inclusion of Minority and Women Business Enterprises, foster the creation of small businesses
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today signed an executive order to promote diversity, provide greater opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, and encourage the creation of small businesses.
Executive Order 15-06 incorporates recommendations by the State of Missouri’s Disparity Study Oversight Review Committee and outlines a series of steps to ensure the state’s contracting process promotes diversity and greater inclusion of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The Disparity Study Oversight Review Committee, appointed by Gov. Nixon last year, was composed of representatives of civil rights, business, labor, and academic organizations including the NAACP, Associated General Contractors of St. Louis, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“Missouri’s rich diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and the executive order I signed today will help ensure that state government benefits from the skills and ingenuity of minority- and women-owned businesses in every corner of Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said. “By giving these businesses the opportunity to compete for government contracts on a level playing-field, this executive order will promote greater diversity in government contracting and job creation in communities across the Show-Me State.”
In addition to setting an overall participation goal for minority-owned and women-owned businesses of 10 percent, respectively, Executive Order 15-06 also directs the Office of Administration to administer an electronic contracting system that will allow Missourians to easily access state contracting information and allow for the collection of data to document progress in achieving the M/WBE percentage goals.
In response to the disparity study’s findings that Missouri also lags in the number of minority- and women-owned businesses in the marketplace, the Governor has also directed the Office of Administration to, among other measures:
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Actively recruit, certify, and serve as a clearinghouse for M/WBEs to participate in the program;
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Research existing bonding and financing programs for small vendors that enhance access to bonding and working capital in order to reduce barriers to business development and success, and determine the feasibility of developing such a program within the Office of Equal Opportunity;
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Provide outreach to M/WBEs to educate firms about the program, the state’s procurement process, and business elements such as obtaining bonding, lines of credit, or other related services. Outreach efforts shall also serve to foster enhanced working relationships between M/WBEs and prime contractors; and
[if !supportLists]§ [endif]Research the feasibility of establishing a Mentor-Protégé Program within OEO, whereby a larger firm provides instruction and training to an emerging firm to increase the protégé’s skills, capacities, and business areas.
“In addition to ensuring robust participation by existing minority and women-owned businesses, we must also do more to encourage new small businesses to compete in this marketplace,” Gov. Nixon said. “By fostering the creation of more small businesses – the engines of our economy — this initiative is a great opportunity to enhance Missouri’s overall economic competitiveness and create jobs.”
“The disparity study confirmed the need for a robust M/WBE program, showing that women- and minority-owned small businesses continue to face disparities when it comes to state contracts,” said Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson. “I thank the Disparity Study Oversight Review Committee for their hard work to analyze the disparity study and recommend ways to reduce these disparities and support small businesses throughout the state.”
Gov. Nixon is dedicated to promoting an equal opportunity workforce in Missouri. In 2010, the Governor signed Executive Order 10-24 to promote a more inclusive and diverse state workforce and identify and eradicate discriminatory employment practices. To carry out the Governor’s order, the Office of Equal Opportunity has worked aggressively to enhance the state’s efforts to provide equal employment opportunity and improve workforce diversity.
Gov. Nixon requested funding to support a disparity study in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013. For fiscal year 2014, the General Assembly adopted the Governor’s recommendation and appropriated funding to support a disparity study, completed in October of 2014. Executive Order 14-07 established the Missouri Disparity Study Oversight Review Committee. The State of Missouri last commissioned a disparity study in 1994, which was completed in 1996.
The study found that “extensive evidence that discrimination on the basis of race and gender continues to operate in Missouri’s markets and that disparities exist between the availability of M/WBEs and their utilization on state contracts and associated subcontracts, as well as throughout the wider Missouri economy.”
The executive order implements one of the key recommendations of the Ferguson Commission, which called for the establishment of a statewide program for Minority/Women’s Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) with outcomes measures that incorporate capacity building, mentoring, and education with respect to the state and local procurement system.”
For more information on the 2014 Disparity Study and Oversight Review Committee recommendations, please visit oa.mo.gov/disparity-study-information.