One of the most significant trends in public procurement in recent years has been the drive to make our procurement more inclusive. More and more, we are being asked to expand opportunities for small businesses, women and minority owned business enterprises, veteran owned businesses and LGBTQ owned businesses. The push for more inclusive contracting has intensified in recent years, but has been important for years. When I ran Pennsylvania’s procurement operations, expanding opportunities was a major priority of our administration and thanks to the great work of my colleagues in the Department of General Services, we quadrupled our MWBE participation rate.
Procurement leaders know that no matter how much executive support there is for supplier diversity, the decisions are made in thousands of decisions by end users in the agencies. Getting their support is critical. From my experience, I’ve found that they often are supportive of inclusive policies, but that ultimately, their biggest question is, “Can this company get the job done for my agency?” Selecting a firm they haven’t worked with in the past carries, in their opinion, more risk compared to a company they’ve worked with already. Not surprisingly, more often than not, the incumbent firm is not women, minority, veteran or LGBTQ owned. How can we give confidence to end users in selecting new, diverse suppliers?
Enter Procurated, the public sector ratings and review platform we launched last year. On Procurated, government and educational officials can read the candid reviews posted by their peers across the state or across the country. As they read about the positive experiences that other governments have had with diverse suppliers, end users’ confidence grows and they feel more confidence in selecting them. Not only that, they can filter the search results by different socioeconomic designations, so they surface highly rated small, MWBE, veteran-owned, LGBTQ suppliers in their area providing the goods or services they need.
I am very proud to have played a small role in making Pennsylvania’s procurements more inclusive several years ago. And I am equally proud of my colleagues at Procurated who are using modern technology to help expand opportunities for historically underutilized businesses across America. If you are interested in using the power of the Procurated platform to make your organization’s procurements more inclusive, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org