The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Minnesota Department of Administration's Office of Equity in Procurement, the 2022 SBA Minnesota Minority Champion of the Year. The members of the team nominated for this award include Aaron Anderson, Tammy Gaglioti, Twauna Mullins, and Maishia Yang. In recognition of National Small Business Week, SBA’s Minnesota District will recognize its 2022 state winners at local events in the weeks ahead.
“For too long minority business owners were effectively shut out of government contracting opportunities,” said Brian McDonald. “Turning things around and creating a more equitable future for all takes dedication and commitment. We’re happy to be able to celebrate the team at OEP for the efforts they’ve made and the positive momentum it’s made to minority-owned businesses in our community.”
The Minnesota Department of Administration's Office of Equity in Procurement helps ensure greater equity in state contracting and construction by promoting opportunities to do business with the state.
The OEP was established in 2015 and has, since its inception, worked to create opportunities for minority-owned businesses. With a focused approach on minority businesses, the Office learned in 2015 that only $119,000 of the state’s billions of dollars of spend went to black-owned businesses. Today, more than $4,000,000 is spent with state-certified black owned businesses. That increase is directly attributable to this small, but tenacious team.
Throughout 2021 the team worked tirelessly to provide meaningful assistance to small minority-owned businesses. Recognizing that they could do better than a "one size fits all" outreach approach, they developed a series of Procurement Equity Summits that were targeted to specific minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. This was the first time the state held outreach events specific to each underrepresented BIPOC group and was an effort to meet each community where they are to provide them with access to business opportunities.
In addition to the teams' presentation of this series of targeted Procurement Equity Summits, they continued to provide outstanding customer service to their clients, including providing one-on-one education and assistance with the certification process, demonstrating how to utilize the state's Supplier Portal for maintaining vendor information, training business owners how to locate and respond to state opportunities, setting up automatic notifications for bidding opportunities, connecting them with relevant state resources and community resource partners, and being available as needed to support state agency procurement and contracting staff to promote the utilization of small minority-owned businesses.
Celebrating NSBW, the SBA will co-host a free, four-day virtual summit from May 2 through May 5, 2022, along with SCORE, to honor the nation’s 32.5 million small businesses for their perseverance. This year’s summit will feature access to critical federal resources, educational workshops, and networking to help our nation’s entrepreneurs pivot and grow in the face of any challenge, seize new opportunities, and make sure the dream of starting a small business is in reach for every American.