Michigan Named Among Nation’s Top Three States Favorable to
Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses
State Law Sets Goal of Awarding Them Five Percent of Procurement Dollars

August 12, 2009.  Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) Director Stanley “Skip” Pruss today expressed appreciation to the National Veteran-Owned Business Association and Vetrepreneur magazine (July/August 2009) for recognizing Michigan as one of the best states for service-disabled veterans to do business.  Michigan was named a standout for pioneering legislation that establishes the highest goal for awarding state procurement dollars to service disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs) and that mandates a price preference.

“DELEG’s partnership with the Department of Management & Budget and its Supplier Diversity Program is expanding entrepreneurship for business owners with disabilities,” said Pruss. “Doing business with the state offers an incredibly untapped marketplace for our disabled, and service- disabled veterans who want to grow their businesses.”

Michigan legislation increased the goal from 3 percent of state contracts to be awarded to SDVOBs (Public Act 91 of 2005) to 5 percent in 2008 (Public Act 133).  SDVOBs receive a 10 percent price preference on most State contracts, meaning their bid can be up to 10 percent higher than a competitor and still be granted low bid status.  In addition, Public Act 90 (2005) sets a goal of each State department awarding no less than 3 percent of its total expenditures to business owners with disabilities. State agencies are held accountable for achieving these goals through regular reporting to the state legislature.

The State of Michigan’s $22.8 billion portfolio supplies all state agencies with contracts for goods and services, information technology, design and construction, and property leasing.  State contracts awarded to disabled, and service disabled veteran-owned businesses increased from $1.8 million in fiscal year 2006, to $31.4 million in the first nine months of fiscal year 2009.  On average, 95 percent of awards made to service disabled veteran-owned businesses go to Michigan vendors, representing every sector of the economy.

“While we’ve seen a 1,644 percent increase in state commerce with business owners with disabilities in less than three years, it represents only a fraction of a percent of state business and we want to see a lot more,” said Pruss. “Businesses owned by people with disabilities and service-disabled veterans have a greater tendency to hire people with disabilities. It’s a real ripple effect – making a big difference where there’s a higher unemployment rate among the disabled, and service disabled community.”

The Department of Management and Budget’s Purchasing Operations Division acts on behalf of all state agencies and uses a competitive-bid process to buy goods and services valued more than $25,000.   Individual agencies are authorized to buy goods and services valued at less than $25,000.

“Our Buy Michigan First and Supplier Diversity policies are important contributors to our success in contracting with disability owned and service disabled veteran-owned businesses,” said Department of Management and Budget Director Lisa Webb Sharpe.  “We have found them to be very qualified, capable business partners to provide state government with our product/service needs. We look forward to working with more businesses owned by people with disabilities and service-disabled veterans in the years to come.”

Before bidding on Michigan contracts, interested business owners must register as a vendor at www.michigan.gov/BuyMichiganFirst.  Click on Vendor Information to locate the Online Vendor Registration web page.  After registering, vendors can research opportunities, write competitive proposals, and submit bids.  The site features a complete list of contracts and “Contracting 101”, a brief presentation that explains the registration and bidding process. The Current Opportunities section offers links to active bid requests with details of the contracts and information about requests for proposals.

Pruss added that many business owners with disabilities are probably not aware of the opportunity to do business with the state.  “Just knowing how to get started bidding for state business can be intimidating,” he said.

For assistance and more information about state contracting opportunities for disabled, or service-disabled veteran business owners and the bid process, contact Doug Spade (517) 335-7819 or Mike Clement (517) 335-6219, consultants for the Department of Management & Budget’s Supplier Diversity Program and who represent the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC) located in DELEG.  The MCDC serves as an information and technical assistance source for employers, state and local government, people with disabilities, families and the general public.