PA Launches Initiative to Purchase More Products from Pennsylvania-Based Small Businesses

The Department of General Services announced a new initiative that enables the Commonwealth to support Pennsylvania-based small businesses by purchasing more products from them through Amazon Business.

As of June 5, supplies Commonwealth agencies purchase from Amazon Business – including office and IT equipment, paper, stationary, medical products, cleaning materials, and more – will be sourced directly from Pennsylvania-based small businesses. The ongoing initiative will enhance the Commonwealth’s support of small businesses, while promoting economic growth and diversity in the supply chain.

“The initiative with Amazon Business builds on Governor Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor Davis’ commitment to expanding opportunities for small businesses,” said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. “Combined with other small business initiatives, this Administration is transforming how the Commonwealth conducts business, setting a clear goal to increase opportunities for Pennsylvania’s small and small diverse business communities.”

Commonwealth agencies will also benefit from the collaboration, as agency purchasing agents and procurement officers will have access to live spending data, which will facilitate better-informed budgeting and purchasing decisions that ensure the Commonwealth’s purchases are going directly to Pennsylvania-based small businesses. The collaboration also will allow the Commonwealth to leverage Amazon Business’ logistics expertise, and agencies will receive free same-day, one-day, and two-day shipping on eligible items. Amazon Business also will provide the Commonwealth with its own specialized customer service team, customized purchase lists, and recurring deliveries on frequently purchased items.

Last fiscal year, the Commonwealth spent approximately $4 million on purchases from Amazon Business. As a result of this new initiative, the Commonwealth anticipates surpassing this amount next year in support of small businesses. Additionally, DGS’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) will help the small business vendors become DGS-registered small businesses, Small Diverse Businesses (SDBs), and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBEs). This will allow them to compete for a wider range of contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth.

“As chair of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Inclusive Procurement (PACIP), I’m pleased to see state agencies like DGS being collaborative and taking the initiative to leverage the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to support small and small, diverse businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis.

The initiative with Amazon Business includes:

  • Updating the Commonwealth’s definition of a SB by raising the revenue limit from $38.5 million to $47 million, helping more SBs, SDBs, and VBEs to compete for state business contracts.
  • The launch of DGS’ Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) that pairs seasoned prime contractors with the owners of SBs, SDBs, and VBEs to help them improve their business management and contract bidding skills.
  • Increasing outreach efforts to help more SBs and SDBs secure state contracting opportunities. Each month, BDISBO issues a Notice of Forthcoming Procurements and a Notice of Forthcoming Construction Opportunities to over 5,000 SB and SDB advocates and stakeholder organizations registered with BDISBO.
  • Leading and coordinating efforts with other Commonwealth agencies and the PACIP to advise Commonwealth agencies on ways to make state contracting opportunities more inclusive.
  • Reducing the time it takes to certify a small business with DGS by 33 percent and implementing a  prompt pay policy to ensure non-construction prime contractors pay subcontractors within 10 days of receiving payment from the Commonwealth.