BATON ROUGE, La. – October 29, 2020 – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced today the launch of the Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification Program for East Baton Rouge Parish. The new program will be the first time minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses can receive a key designation in procurement and contracting with the city-parish government. The DBE certification program follows the recommendations from the 2019 Disparity Study, and is a major next step toward equity and inclusion in our public investments.
This program will allow businesses to qualify for contracts with the city-parish, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and BREC with the same joint certification. An often-mentioned hurdle among local small business owners has been the need to obtain multiple certifications from different organizations. The new DBE certification program is a collaboration with BREC and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, and will launch on December 1.
“In 2018, I engaged Keen Independent Research to analyze city-parish purchases to determine whether there is a level playing field for minority, women, and veteran-owned firms and other small businesses in the local marketplace,” said Mayor Broome. “The intention of the Disparity Study was to determine how the city-parish could implement equitable policies that create an equal playing field for businesses in our parish. Our joint certification program is a significant stride in our push for equity.”
The certification process along with targeted business outreach and training will complement existing efforts such as Equity in Business seminars, outreach programs at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, and the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunities Partnership (BRPOP).
“This certification program aligns with our current initiatives to create an equity and fairness program in an effort to increase procurement opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged groups within our community,” said BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson. “We are delighted to participate in this project which not only maximizes the use of taxpayer dollars but will also allow us to participate in a larger effort to create more economic opportunities.”
“The airport has a long-standing and robust DBE program in place for our federally funded projects and we take great pride in the fact that we have consistently exceeded our program participation goals. A streamlined joint certification process for our locally funded projects will increase ease of access and participation, thus allowing the airport to further grow our overall program,” said Mike Edwards, Director of Aviation for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.