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.
Maryland’s MBE Program, which is well-recognized as a national model for minority inclusion in State procurement and contracting, celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2018.
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).
Administration of the MBE Program lies with the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs which works directly with State agencies regarding compliance and reporting. 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.