Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today joined the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) in announcing the release of the Small Business and Supplier Diversity Initiative Report, mandated by Executive Order 07.13.22.01. The report outlines several recommendations to further access to Georgia’s procurement process and resources for small, minority-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
“Since launching the Georgians First Commission in 2019, my administration has made great strides in supporting the Peach State's small businesses," said Governor Kemp. "As a small business owner for over 35 years, when multiple legislative attempts at improving the state's contracts process did not reach my desk for signature, I knew we had to act to ensure they too would benefit from the growing opportunity in every corner of Georgia. That's why I instructed DOAS to look into this issue, provide recommendations, and hire a Small Business and Supplier Diversity Manager that could help shepherd this important work. This report is the latest step in improving those processes, but rest assured, it will not be the last. It is but another mile marker on the ongoing journey to ensure Georgians of all backgrounds have access to opportunity, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly, our agency partners, and the private sector to ensure we move forward down this path."
Among the recommendations included in the report are strategies to assist small and diverse businesses in identifying bid opportunities; improving readiness to bid; increasing outreach, training, and support to the small business community; and engaging key small business development partners, chambers of commerce, non-profit organizations, and state agencies to better understand the needs of small and minority-owned businesses. In the process of compiling the report, DOAS heard directly from stakeholders across the state and collected feedback from more than 600 small and minority-owned businesses.
In addition to increasing outreach and improving access to contracting opportunities, Governor Kemp’s Executive Order from July also called for the creation of a new Small Business and Supplier Diversity Manager position to coordinate engagement efforts with small businesses throughout Georgia. Ms. Julian Bailey was promoted to fill this position and will lead outreach, communications, and engagement initiatives that help small and diverse businesses navigate the state’s contract process. She will also collaborate with other state agencies and small business development partners to increase awareness and utilization of essential small business resources, such as mentorship opportunities and access to capital.
“Making the state procurement process easier to access increases the likelihood of small businesses participating and earning state contracts,” said DOAS Commissioner Rebecca N. Sullivan. “Increased small business participation in state procurement is not only beneficial for the small businesses community, but also for our state government agencies by increasing competition, encouraging innovation, and expanding the customer base of state government.”
Governor Kemp charged DOAS with collaborating with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on this broader initiative. The SBDC is one of 8 units that fulfills the university’s public service and outreach mission as Georgia’s land-grant and sea-grant institution.
“Our Multicultural Business Division was created to assist a variety of business owners on issues related to procurement, access to capital, and community outreach,” said Division Director Carolina Ramon. “The fruitful partnership we have with DOAS has already yielded successful Small Business Procurement Readiness Workshops and other initiatives that support entrepreneurs who interact with our 18 SBDC locations.”
Additionally, the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce were instrumental in hosting events, providing feedback, and sharing DOAS’ survey throughout their wide networks across the state. The Georgia Chamber and GMSDC remain committed to keeping Georgia the best state to live, work, raise a family, and start a business.
“The GMSDC is excited about the release of the DOAS report and the opportunities it will ultimately create for small and minority businesses in the State of Georgia,” said Stacey Key, President and CEO at GMSDC. “Our state has tremendous potential to be a national leader in utilizing suppliers from traditionally disadvantaged communities. We applaud the work that has been done so far and look forward to helping Georgia achieve further economic success for all.”
"The Georgia Chamber of Commerce thanks Governor Kemp for his leadership as a champion of small business in Georgia," said Chris Clark, President & CEO of the Georgia Chamber. "The recent Executive Order and supplier diversity report will provide a roadmap to help more Georgia companies thrive. The state's corporate leaders have pioneered supplier diversity and stand ready to work with Governor Kemp and DOAS to help more small businesses find long term success.”
As the purchasing agent for the State of Georgia, DOAS is responsible for the procurement of roughly $4.5 billion worth of goods and services each year for state agencies, the University System of Georgia, and Technical College System of Georgia. The State Purchasing Division (SPD) negotiates contracts to ensure customers receive the best value for the dollars they spend, while providing suppliers with a fair opportunity to compete for business with state entities. Through procurement training and outreach programs, SPD assisted more than 4,000 large and small businesses in the competitive bid process in Fiscal Year 2022, alone.
To review the Small Business and Supplier Diversity Initiative Report and to learn more about the initiative, go to doas.ga.gov.