The Department of General Services and the State recognize that small and minority-owned businesses are the foundation of a strong, healthy and vibrant economy. DGS helps the small business community participate in State government contracting opportunities by leveling the playing field through a variety of programs.
Small Business Reserve Program
The Small Business Reserve program (SBR) provides small businesses with the opportunity to participate as prime contractors on State contracts and procurements by competing against other small businesses instead of larger, more established companies. Once a solicitation has been designated “SBR Only,” an award can only be made to a registered SBR vendor. 23 State Agencies participate by designating 10% of their procurements as SBR. To participate in the Small Business Reserve program, your business must meet established qualification criteria. Registration is completed through eMaryland Marketplace. For assistance with online registration, call 410-767-1492.
Small Business Preference Program
Agencies may designate individual procurements as Small Business Preference. This means a certified small business may be awarded the contract even if another bidder, who is not a certified small business, bids a lower price. If a non-certified business is low bidder, a certified small business would still be awarded the contract if their bid did not exceed the low bid by more than:
- Up to 5% where the certified small business is not veteran-owned;
- Up to 7% where the business is a certified veteran-owned small business; or
- Up to 8% where the business is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small
Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise Program
Under the Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise Program (VSBE), each State agency tries to award .5% of the value of its procurement projects. To participate in the program, veteran-owned businesses must be verified and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Veterans Enterprise. Click here to get started.
Minority Business Enterprise
The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program encourages minority-owned firms to participate in State procurement and contracting opportunities. Current MBE regulations direct all 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. The Maryland Department of Transportation provides certification for the MBE program.