Montgomery Co. Council looks to lift up small local businesses

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) –Tuesday was busy for the Montgomery County Council. It was the group’s first day back in session in 2020.

Several councilmembers kicked off the new session with a bill that works to help local businesses.

The Local Small Business Reserve Program and Direct Purchase Enhancement Act looks to keep county funds inside Montgomery County borders, rather than outsourcing purchases elsewhere.

Councilmember Will Jawando spearheaded the bill, saying, “we do about $75 million a year of these $10,000 or less direct purchases. This [bill] will require that there be a goal set that 50% of those purchases go to businesses certified in the Local Small Business Reserve Program.”

Right now, local small businesses get less than $1 million of those county direct purchases each year.

Ninety-eight percent of Montgomery County businesses have 100 employees or fewer.

Jawando said, “the goal is to make sure our backbone here, local small businesses, can have the support. We can use them to procure our services here and they can grow and become larger.”

Councilmember Craig Rice added, “there are so many businesses here in Montgomery County that have been born and raised here, that don’t do business with our county.”

The minimum number of contracts awarded to small businesses will increase from 20 percent to 25 percent under the bill.

Rice said, “we want our small businesses, our local business community to know that we see you, we understand that this playing field is not level, but we’re trying to get there.”

The bill will apply to both for-profit and non-profit businesses.

Montgomery County’s Office of Procurement will hold the county accountable for meeting these new goals.

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