NEW OHIO LAW REMOVES CERTIFICATION HURDLES FOR MINORITY, VETERAN, AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES

Good news for Ohio entrepreneurs! 

On March 2, 2022, governor Mike DeWine signed into law Senate Bill 105, which eliminates the duplicative, red-tape barriers for Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MBEs), Veteran-owned Business Enterprises (VBEs), and Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBEs) applying for Minority Business Enterprise certification. The new law requires government agencies across Ohio to recognize state-level certifications of those entrepreneurs. 

Marginalized businesses in Ohio can now get access to contracts and other resources in different parts of the state easier and apply to become certified for free through the Ohio Department of Development. 

In the recent months before the legislation, minority, veteran, and women entrepreneurs had to face arduous paperwork and time-consuming applications to get certified in areas where they wanted to do business. 

President/CEO Jeanne Gokcen of FutureCom Technologies Inc. in Columbus was one of those who testified, explaining that the certification process is burdensome and can take months to collect the needed documentation to prove the business is minority, veteran, or women-owned. Some venues even charge additional fees.

“Although we recognize and appreciate the need to be thorough to prevent fraud within these programs, I have had to personally go through the certification process in multiple venues,” Gokcen stated. “Recently, I simply chose not to compete for contracts in a particular jurisdiction, because I just didn’t have the bandwidth to go through that entire process all over again.”

Ohio’s secretary of state Frank LaRose, who advocated for Senate Bill 105 and supported it when it was submitted in January, expressed his delight that it had finally been signed into law. 

“Ohio is the destination state for job creators because we don’t let needless bureaucracy get in the way of entrepreneurship,” LaRose said in a press release. “What started with frustrations shared to me by the minority business community turned into a major bipartisan victory.”

The Senate Bill 105 was sponsored by Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron and Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton.

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