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MWBEs, veteran businesses awarded more Minnesota contracts
Published on 01/18/2018

According to a recent report, state-funded contracts awarded in 2017 to businesses owned by Minnesota's minorities, women, and veterans increased by 89 percent over 2015, going from $40 million in contract dollars to $75 million.

Black-owned businesses saw the largest increase in percentage terms, with an increase of 1,075 percent in contracting dollars received, but many types of businesses, including women-owned businesses, Hispanic-owned businesses, and Asian-American-owned businesses also saw substantial increases in Minnesota contracting dollars received.

While the new $75 million figure represents a small fraction of the $2.5 billion in contracting spent by the state of Minnesota, the reforms and processes the state embarked on to grow the share of contracting going to disadvantaged businesses may continue to bear fruit. James Burroughs, Chief Inclusion Officer for Minnesota, has said that much of the progress comes down to a general focus on equity throughout state government, including in providing new training to state workers like purchasing agents in order to implement already-existing laws better.

Other endeavors include increased usage of "sheltered market" bidding that provides a better bid environment to disadvantaged businesses, a streamlined certification process which has grown the number of certified disadvantaged businesses by a third since 2015, $35 million in funding secured by Governor Mark Dayton during the 2016 Legislative Session for addressing racial economic disparities in Minnesota, more assiduous tracking of state spending with disadvantaged businesses, and a new Office of Equity in Procurement with six full-time employees.

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