New LGBTQQ+ Certification for Small Businesses Seeking County Contracts
[ Article was originally posted on https://dcba.lacounty.gov ]
The County of Los Angeles is introducing a new certification status to enhance our Community Business Enterprise (CBE) program. The LGBTQQ+ certification creates a new pathway for businesses owned by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning individuals to engage in County procurement opportunities. It is essential that County dollars are reinvested in our diverse business community that were most impacted by the pandemic. Through this and similar initiatives we ensure that County procurement becomes a tool to grow and support businesses throughout our recovery and beyond.
The LGBTQQ+ certification is the latest addition to the CBE, which helps ensure that businesses owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals are engaged in opportunities to compete for County contracts. The County’s CBE Participation Goal for County Contracts establishes more inclusive practices into contracting and purchasing, setting a 25-percent participation goal for CBE-certified vendors.
To be eligible for LGBTQQ+ certification, a business must be 51 percent owned and controlled by at least one or more LGBTQQ individuals. They must also have an active certification with the National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce or through the Supplier Clearinghouse as authorized through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
“The County wants to improve access to County contracts for LGBTQ-owned businesses. We want to make sure that public resources are fairly allocated as a part of helping to strengthen historically disadvantaged communities,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “LA County stands for inclusion and equity in its contracting, including our vibrant LGBTQ communities.”
“I am committed to ensuring that inclusive and culturally competent practices are integrated into all County contracting and procurement policies,” said Chair Hilda L. Solis. “This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the impact on LGBTQQ and minority-owned businesses. I hope this initiative will further move the County toward true equity in contracting. It’s long overdue.”
“This is an important and necessary step toward a more inclusive LA County,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “From our procurement process to the direct services we provide, our commitment to acceptance, equity, and doing what’s right must be unwavering. It’s imperative that we have suppliers as diverse as the residents we serve.”
“LA County is the most diverse county in the nation and our small businesses reflect that,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The CBE makes sure at least a quarter of our County contracts goes to diverse small businesses, including those owned by people of color and women. One group we were previously missing was our LGBTQ+ owned small businesses. That is why our Board of Supervisors recently voted to ensure these businesses would qualify for this important program.”
“Diversity strengthens our business community,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “This initiative reiterates the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to inclusivity and equity for all aspects of County service. LGBTQQ businesses bring creativity and ingenuity to the marketplace. As we revitalize our local economy, these businesses will play an important role in our path forward.”
“Our department is committed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners find success through County contracting,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We look forward to serving more LGBTQQ+ owned businesses through the Office of Small Business and helping them get connected to new opportunities in LA County.”
For more details about how to do business with the County and about the eligibility requirements of the LGBTQQ+ certification, contact the Office of Small Business at (323) 881-3964.
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