In 1978, Maryland's General Assembly enacted legislation creating the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program to ensure that socially- and economically-disadvantaged small business owners are included in the State’s procurement and contracting opportunities. Current MBE regulations direct 70 participating State agencies to make every effort to award an overall minimum goal of 29% of the total dollar value of their procurement contracts directly (prime contractors) or indirectly (subcontractors) to certified MBE firms.
The participating agencies and departments examine their procurements and set specific minority participation goals on a contract-by-contract basis. Procedures are followed to assure that an award of a contract is not made until a prime contractor has met the established MBE goal(s) by subcontracting with a certified small, minority- or women-owned firm(s), or has demonstrated a good faith effort to meet those goal(s).
After a contract has been awarded, MBE participation is closely monitored. Monitoring includes a review of the subcontract financial transactions and visits to the job-site to verify actual work being performed by the MBE firm. Each agency staffs an MBE Liaison whose role includes serving as an advocate for MBEs actively working on contracts within that agency.
Administration of the MBE Program lies with the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs which serves in an advisory capacity to the Governor on key MBE issues and works directly with State agencies regarding compliance and reporting.
Maryland’s MBE Program is well-recognized as a national model for minority inclusion in State procurement and contracting.
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