Small Business Reserve: Small Change Made a Big Difference

Two years ago, the Maryland Chamber supported legislation to expand the definition of “small business” under the Small Business Reserve (SBR) program. That change has helped grow the number of small businesses participating in the SBR and bring more state agencies closer to their goal of awarding 10 percent of procurements to qualified small businesses.  

Prior to the change two years ago, small businesses small businesses seeking to participate in the SBR program had to meet requirements related to both employee count and gross sales volume. In 2012, the eligibility standards were changed to allow small business to qualify if it met either requirement. The expansion approved in 2012 sunsets this year. HB 487, sponsored by Delegate Kirill Reznik, would repeal that sunset. 

The Maryland Chamber supports HB 487 because the expansion of the program has been a great success. According to the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) FY 2013 SBR Program Report, procurements to SBR vendors grew by nearly 29 percent last year and the number of participating small businesses has grown by nearly 43 percent.  In its report, GOMA attributes this growth to the expanded eligibility standards, as well as improved outreach and promotion. 

The House Health and Government Operations Committee unanimously approved the bill this week, sending it to the House floor. The Senate version of the bill will be heard in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on March 11. For more information, contact Mathew Palmer at mpalmer@mdchamber.org 

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