Dear YouDig?

Paving the Way for Minority Construction Businesses

Dear YouDig?

We are planning to form an asphalt paving company to be one-hundred percent owned by African-Americans. We heard that we will be able to get more work if we are certified as a minority business in Ohio. What are the steps?

-Paving the Way

Dear Paving the Way,

First of all, we congratulate you on your new business venture. Yes–you can definitely expand your business opportunities in Ohio through certification. The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (ODAS) regulates procurement in Ohio, including the Minority Business Enterprise (“MBE”) program. We doubt you will be surprised to learn that before you cement your status as a qualified participant in the MBE or EDGE programs, you have a few hurdles. Let’s start with these questions:

1. Is your company a “for profit” business?  Pave… for profit right???

2. Has your company been in business for at least one year?  Umm…Nope.

3. Is your company owned and controlled by a minority (African American, American Indian, Hispanic or Asian)?  Yep. You seemed to have that covered, but BEWARE! Control is a key component. Lack of real control is the subject of much litigation. DO NOT BE A FRONT, Pave, or you and your “sponsor” will be busy navigating expensive teeth-rattling pot holes with lawyers and judges.

4. Does that individual(s) own 51% of the company? Again…check the box YES, Pave.

5. Is that individual(s) an Ohio resident and U.S. citizen?  Looking good, Pave.

Public works typically have requirements for MBE participation. Other programs also exist, for instance, the less restrictive Encouraging Diversity Growth Equity (“EDGE”) program.  Check out the ODAS web site and, go for it Pave! But… don’t be a stooge. Make sure you wait the full year. Then familiarize yourself with the regulations to avoid “control” issues. Make it your business; your risk; and, your management. Then, CONTROL IT… NURTURE IT… MAKE IT GREAT, Pave.   YouDig?