For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
August 20, 2004

FAIR TO HELP MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

(COLUMBUS) The Ohio Department of Transportation, along with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), is sponsoring a business fair that will focus on increasing minority business contracts with state government.

The fair will provide minority businesses the opportunity to meet with ODOT purchasers and discuss possible contracts, said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor.

The department has been working with minority businesses to develop an economic atmosphere conducive to small company growth. In the past four years, ODOT has increased its spending with minority businesses from $7.4 million to $15.5 million. Currently, there are more than 700 Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) in Ohio. State law requires 15 percent of state agencies eligible purchases be made with MBEs.

The fair, scheduled for August 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rhodes Building on the Ohio State Fairgrounds, will allow businesses to meet with buyers, expand their pools of potential clients and aide with MBE certification. ODOT and DAS representatives will be available to discuss future contracting opportunities

The fair will also consist of presentations from ODOT Assistant Director of Planning and Production Cash Misel, and Gov. Tafts Director of External Affairs and Economic Opportunity Leonard Hubert regarding the future of the MBE program.

Businesses can register at the fair for MBE or Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) status. In order to qualify for MBE certification, businesses must be 51 percent owned and controlled by a U.S. citizen and Ohio resident belonging to an African-American, Native American, Hispanic, or Oriental ethnic group. In addition, the business must be in operation for at least one year prior to submitting an application. For DBE status, a business must be at least 51 percent owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged person who participates in the daily operations of the business. This person must be a woman or of African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-Pacific or Asian Subcontinent ethnicity.

After gaining MBE or DBE status, businesses will benefit from training opportunities and special mailings containing information on contracting. In addition, MBE and DBE companies will be placed on a certified list, used by state agencies and firms to locate sub-contractors.