Our Strength is in our Numbers... Our Power is in our Unity! 
Governor's Office of Minority Affairs
Small Business Bulletin - March 2017
Message from the Secretary
Every March, we celebrate National Women's History Month. Women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth of our nation in countless ways. I have been fortunate to have very strong women in my life and I am grateful for all I have learned from them. We celebrated the contributions of five trailblazing women during our Ready, Set, GROW! workshop held on March 21. Over 100 small business owners and guests attended the celebration, which included special Governor's Citations presented by First Lady Yumi Hogan. Here's a synopsis of these wonderful women:

Mi Kyung "Micky" Kim, owner of Honey Pig Korean BBQ. She is a dedicated restaurateur who employs nearly 150 people at her four U.S. locations and gives back to her community through a scholarship program that helps high school graduates seek higher education goals.
Stella Miller, owner of Stella May Contracting. She has broken many barriers within the construction industry to grow her company to 85 employees. She is grateful for all of the support she has had along the way, and attributes much of her success to hiring a diverse workforce.
Walkiria Pool, president and founder of Centro de Apoyo Familia. She is revitalizing and stabilizing communities and families through economic and social empowerment. She has built a network of more than 200 pastors and together they have served over 15,000 families.
Shelonda Stokes, president and CEO of greiBO. A strategic and visionary thinker in the event planning and entertainment industry, she knows how to engage an audience. She has been the executive producer of Baltimore's African American Festival for the past six years, growing the event to include international talent and empowerment seminars.
Eileen Straugh, president and CEO of Straugh Environmental, Inc. Her passion for the environment is leading to cost-effective solutions that produce better outcomes. She serves in key leadership positions with multiple nonprofit organizations to grow support for environmental restoration issues at the grassroots level.


My congratulations to these special women, and all the women who make Maryland a great place to live and work. 

Jimmy Rhee
Special Secretary
For Your Business
Legislative Update
The Maryland General Assembly's 90-day session is winding down. Several of the bills that impact small businesses include the re-authorization of the Minority Business Enterprise Program (SB004)
and efforts to modernize the state's procurement systems (SB0309/ HB0433; SB0310/HB0390; SB0311/HB0426). And these are just a few. With legislators looking at as many as 4,000 bills, things are moving at a fast pace in Annapolis. Be sure to visit our Bill Tracker page to keep up on all proposed legislation that could impact the small business community. The page includes a link to help you locate your elected officials. Be your own advocate and voice your support or concerns to
your delegates and senator. They want to hear from you!

Attention Veteran Small Business Owners
Maryland has a procurement program specifically for veteran-owned small businesses. The Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program expands contracting opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses by requiring state agencies to award 1 percent of the annual dollar value of state-funded contracts to certified veteran-owned small businesses (COMAR 21.11.13). To achieve the VSBE goal, each agency assesses the potential for VSBE prime contractor and subcontractor participation on each contract. Only certified veteran-owned small businesses can meet the stated goal. If you're a veteran small business owner, learn more about the program and register today.

Free Analytics for Your Small Business
What metrics are you using to drive decisions regarding your business? You don't need fancy, expensive software to begin gathering data. Start with an asset you already have--your website. Google has a free web-traffic monitoring tool called Google Analytics, which includes data about website visitors such as where they are coming from, how they engage with your site, how long they stay, how many are new, and how many return. These key insights can help you make decisions about your website's effectiveness, and making decisions based on real numbers is much better than guessing. Google Analytics is free, so there's no reason not to use this valuable resource. Sign up today.
Delivering on our Customer Service Promise 
Governor Larry Hogan has implemented a Customer Service Promise to ensure that Marylanders are getting the best possible service from their state government. That includes developing a strong service culture based on formal customer service training. A Request for Proposal (MDF1031031484) is out right now for a statewide customer service training contract. Once implemented, employees from all agencies and all state offices will have access to training, either in person or online. The Governor's Business Ombudsman, Randall Nixon, is leading the customer service initiative. Contact him directly at randall.nixon@maryland.gov or
410-697-9726 with any questions about implementation of the statewide customer service the initiative. 
 
Check out our full range of small, minority, and women
business resources at goma.maryland.gov. 
Maryland is OPEN for Business, and the Governor's
Office of Minority Affairs is connecting small, minority, and women businesses with resources that empower them to compete with confidence in the public and private sectors, while implementing and monitoring small and minority
business inclusion programs across 70 state agencies. Visit our website at www.goma.maryland.gov to learn more.



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For Your Business
Procurement Modernization Report
Maryland is open for business and the Hogan administration has recently completed a review of the codes and regulations that govern our statewide procurement system. The Report of the Commission to Modernize State Procurement has 57 recommendations to modernize the state procurement system by utilizing technology, simplifying the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and providing better training to state personnel and the companies that want to do business with the state. Highlights include:
  • Creating a standardized RFP template for all service, IT, architecture & engineering, and construction contracts
  • Giving procurement officers more discretion to negotiate certain contract clauses
  • Upgrading eMaryland Marketplace
  • Expanding the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program to apply to all state agencies
  • Raising the SBR statewide goal from 10 percent to 15 percent
  • Creating a procurement manual and training curriculum
As Governor Hogan reviews the recommendations, the state unveiled an online communications portal at procurement.maryland.gov to provide 24/7 access to Maryland procurement information.

"Modernizing our procurement process is vital to running a transparent, accountable, and fiscally-responsible state government," said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, who chairs the commission. "Once implemented, these recommendations will benefit Maryland for years to come by increasing competition for contracts, lowering transaction costs, and improving the professional development of our state procurement workforce."

Advocacy
The 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly gets underway on January 11, 2017. The 47 senators and 141 delegates of this legislative body will consider about 2,500 pieces of proposed legislation and pass the state's annual capital and operating budgets. Many of the decisions they make will affect your business, so get engaged in the legislative process and be your own advocate. Check out these tips for how your business can be represented through grassroots advocacy.

Speak the Right Language
Public sector contracting has a language all its own. If you want to succeed in this competitive market, you need to speak the same language used by procurement officers and buyers. IFB, RFP, BAFO, ID/IQ, FOB - what does it all mean? Our Public Purchasing Fact Sheet is a great resource for small business owners who are new to this market or those who want to brush-up.

 
Check out our full range of small, minority, and women
business resources at goma.maryland.gov. 


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