As deputy commissioner of the Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity, Terrie Daniel’s professional focus is the promotion of businesses owned by minority, women and veterans. Below is a FAQ checklist created especially for the Indiana Minority Business Magazine —frequently asked questions and answers — that Daniel fields in her daily workweek.
Question: What motivates you to promote diversity?
Answer: Supplier diversity and inclusion on all levels creates a climate of economic development in our community for everyone. It is our responsibility as diversity champions to change the mindsets of those who may not recognize valid opportunities for minority, women and veteran business enterprises. Inclusion is not just something to do to meet a percentage or a goal on a contract, it’s just the right thing to do. Through our diverse culture we can draw upon relevant features of individual backgrounds and better serve clients and constituents.
Q: How does your agency make a difference in this regard?
A: The Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity promotes, monitors and enforces standards for certification of minority, women and veteran business enterprises. State officials formed the division in 1983 in response to Public Law 34 (I.C. 4-13-16.5 and 25 IAC-5) to provide equal opportunity to minority and women enterprises in the state’s procurement and contracting processes.
Public Law 34 also created the Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Development, which is now known as the Governor’s Commission on Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE). Commission members work to advocate minority and women’s enterprises in state contracting in their respective regions.
Q: Do you set specific goals for the percentages of contracts awarded to diverse businesses?
A: The current weighted average goal for minority business enterprises’ (MBE) participation is 6 percent of the state’s competitive contracts for purchase of goods and services. The goal for women’s business enterprises (WBE) is 7 percent. Finally, the goal for veterans’ business enterprises (VBE) is 3 percent.
Q: As you said, the state formed a division more than 30 years ago to promote contracts with minority-owned businesses. Is the emphasis on veteran-owned businesses something more recent?
A: Yes. On April 25, 2013, Gov. Mike Pence established the Indiana Veteran Business Enterprises Program when he signed SEA 564. The goal is to provide additional economic opportunities for men and women who return home after serving their country to start or expand their own businesses.
Q: All these initiatives are part of state law, then?
A: Yes. The program is governed by Indiana Code 4-13-16.5.1-9, which defines the role of the minority and women business enterprises and provides an overview of state requirement and grievance procedures. Specifically, 25 IAC 5-1-1; 5-1-3; 5-2-1; 5-3; 5-4 detail the certification standards for certification application review, certification acceptance and denial.
Q: Obviously, these programs help minority, veteran and female business owners. Do others benefit as well?
A: Absolutely. Working with diverse suppliers can improve customer satisfaction. Companies and government entities benefit from having more options and flexibility within the supply chain by working with diverse suppliers. Utilization of diverse suppliers can result in cost savings and better service. Finally, through a diverse culture, we can draw upon valuable features of individual backgrounds and better serve clients and constituents.
We are better because of our differences — not despite them. I am committed as the leader of the state’s supplier diversity efforts to do what I can to make sure those differences are celebrated and businesses have an opportunity to grow in our state and globally.
Q: So how do people get their businesses eligible for consideration?
A: Minority and women business enterprises that wish to provide goods or services to state agencies as a sub-contractor should be certified by the Division of Supplier Diversity.
There are eight basic steps for Indiana based businesses to become MWBE-certified. Those steps are:
- Register your company with the Indiana Secretary Of State.
Note: Sole proprietors are not required to register with the Secretary of State; only those firms that are incorporated.
- Obtain a Bidder Registration Number by registering with the Procurement Division.
Your Bidder Registration Number will create a unique identifier for your company in the state’s system, allow you to log on to the state’s website to maintain your profile and access important information.
- Obtain a certification application and read about program requirements or call (317) 232-3061.
- Include your Bidder Registration/Bidder ID Number (BRN) on page 1 of the application.
- Use the application checklist to confirm that all required documents are included with the application.
**Items most often omitted from M/WBE Certification Application.
- Complete and return your application. There is no processing fee.
- Applicants may schedule a consultation for assistance.
As to help as many new applicants as possible, have your application and application documents ready for review at the time of your appointment.
- The MWBE Division will conduct a site visit to verify application information.
Q: How about out-of-state firms?
A: Based on the outcome of the Governor’s Commission meeting held on Jan. 12, 2009, the Division of Supplier Diversity will only consider applications from out-of-state companies that are based in a state that recognizes Indiana MWBE certification from the Indiana Department of Administration Division of Supplier Diversity. For additional information on out-of-state certification procedures, please visit http://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/2492.htm.
Q: Is there a different process for a veteran-owned business?
A: Yes. To be considered a VBE with the state of Indiana, a firm must:
- Register with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
- Register your company with the Indiana Department of Administration. For bidder registration assistance, contact Luther Taylor, (317) 232-3061 or email Indianaveteranspreference@idoa.in.gov.
- Applicant must provide a letter from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to verify VA classification to the prime contractor.
- Indiana Department of Administration Division of Supplier Diversity will validate applicant information, contact client with any additional questions and add company to listing of Veteran Business Enterprises.
Q: What does a business gain by becoming certified?
A: A business may qualify for MBE, WBE and VBE subcontracting opportunities on state contracts. It receives notification of state business opportunities and upcoming events. It may qualify as an MBE/WBE/VBE for purchasing by casinos and state universities, as well as other public and private partner organizations.
Also, certification means a business receives priority registration and display preferences at all Division of Supplier Diversity events statewide, including regional business conferences that feature expert educational content and access to partner organization (public and private) procurement decision makers.
A certified business also may receive one-on-one business development consultation assistance. Appointments must be scheduled for these sessions.
Q: What if a business needs help navigating all the necessary steps?
A: Free step-by-step training for MBE, WBE and VBE certification is available the third Wednesday of each month for new applicants. To register or learn more about clinics and other outreach programs, visit the Division of Supplier Diversity “News and Events” webpage located at http://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/2749.htm.
Q: Last fall, there was talk of an upcoming disparity study? What’s that about?
A: In November 2014, the state of Indiana Department of Administration Division of Supplier Diversity commissioned BBC Research and Consulting to conduct the 2010 disparity study. Following is specific information outlining the parameters of the study:
Q: Who will be included in the study?
A: The partners included in the study are state agencies, including Indiana Department of Transportation, and state educational institutions including Indiana University, Indiana State University, Purdue University, Ball State University, Vincennes University, University of Southern Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and the Hoosier Lottery.
Q: What is a disparity study?
A: Disparity studies examine whether or not there is evidence of discrimination in the utilization of minority- and women-owned firms. Disparity studies are a way for government agencies to examine whether programs are needed to assist small businesses and/or minority- and women-owned businesses in government contracting and purchasing.
The purpose of the 2015 State of Indiana disparity study is to compare the actual number of minority and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) that exist in the state against the actual number of MWBEs being utilized in state government contracts. A disparity exists when there is underutilization of available MWBEs.
Q: Why is a state disparity study needed?
A: The last Indiana disparity study was commissioned in 2009 and completed in 2010. The state has not completed an updated disparity study since then; per IC 4-13-16.5-2, the state is required by law to update its disparity study every five years. An updated disparity study must be completed in order to establish the legal validity for maintaining an MWBE program.
Q: Will the study be made public?
A: The results will become public record. The study results will also provide the basis for future state policy and procurement decisions that rely on current information for determining MWBE participation levels. To see progress of the current study or the results from the 2010 disparity study, please visit our website at http://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/2674.htm.
Q: What will it cost to fund the study?
A: The cost of a disparity study ranges from approximately $1 million to $1.5 million based on studies commissioned by states of comparable size. It is estimated that Indiana’s disparity study would cost approximately $1.5 million based on the cost of the previous study performed and cost of other comparable state studies.
Q: How will the study be financed?
A: Indiana’s Minority and Women’s Enterprises Division, a program within the Indiana Department of Administration, along with other state agencies and quasi-government agencies, will share combined resources to fund the disparity study.
Q: What is the commission’s role?
A: The firm commissioned to complete the study will track capacity for Indiana MWBE firms vs. the entire population of firms, then assess utilization vs. that capacity. The firm will present findings to the Governor’s Commission on Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises.
Based on that presentation, it is the commission’s responsibility to set the participation goals for the year ahead. The company conducting the study does not make recommendations on what the goals should be.
Q: Are there ways businesses can help with you overall cause?
A: Of course! Share your experiences working in the local marketplace by visiting our website http://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/2674.htm. You can also call our office directly at 317-232-3061 to leave responses in regard to your experiences.
Also, respond to our requests for an availability interview. If you are a business owner in Indiana, you may be contacted as a part of the availability interview process. If you are contacted for an availability interview, please help the study team by responding to the request in a timely manner.
Q: Thanks so much! Any parting words?
A: I have challenged my team to come alongside me and make this one of the best – if not THE best — diversity programs in the country. I know that will take a lot of hard work, perseverance and support from the business community — and possibly legislation — but it can be done.
With the continued support from the community, our governor and lieutenant governor are committed to making Indiana a place where businesses want to be as well as taking the lead on making Indiana a state where businesses can grow. We are moving forward, taking this program from ‘good’ to ‘great!’
INDIANA BASED BUSINESS
Total number of firms – 482,841
Black-owned firms – 4.6 percent
Native American- and Alaska Native-owned firms – 0.5 percent
Asian-owned firms – 1.8 percent
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms – 0.0 percent
Hispanic-owned firms, percent – 1.8 percent
Women-owned firms – 26.8 percent
*As of 2007 United States Census Data