In 1978, Maryland's General Assembly enacted legislation creating the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program to ensure that socially- and economically-disadvantaged small business owners are included in the State’s procurement and contracting opportunities. Current MBE regulations direct 70 participating 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.
Maryland’s MBE Program, which is well-recognized as a national model for minority inclusion in State procurement and contracting, celebrated its 42nd anniversary in 2020.
The participating agencies and departments examine their procurements and set specific minority participation goals on a contract-by-contract basis. Procedures are followed to assure that an award of a contract is not made until a prime contractor has met the established MBE goal(s) by subcontracting with a certified small, minority- or women-owned firm(s), or has demonstrated a good faith effort to meet those goal(s).
Oversight and administration of the MBE Program lies with the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs which works directly with State agencies regarding compliance and reporting. After a contract has been awarded, MBE participation is monitored by the MBE Liaison. Monitoring includes a review of the subcontract financial transactions and visits to the job-site to verify actual work being performed by the MBE firm. Each agency staffs an MBE Liaison whose role includes serving as an advocate for MBEs actively working on contracts within that agency.
MBE certification is performed and managed by the Office of Minority Business Enterprise. This unit is housed within the Maryland Department of Transportation and certifies businesses for a variety of federal socioeconomic and small business programs in addition to the Maryland's MBE Program.
An MBE Fraud Hotline exists for the purpose of reporting potential violations against a certified MBE. A call to the hotline will trigger an investigation. The more details you provide, the better chance we have of determining whether fraud has been committed. Callers may remain anonymous. If you suspect fraud against an MBE, call 410-697-9611.