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Procurement Equity About Us

The Office of Procurement Equity is the product of the collective work of The Racial Justice Council (RJC), the RJC Economic Opportunity Subcommittee, state agencies, legislative leaders, leadership within the governor's office, and many others who see inequalities in our government procurement systems. This work began with the 2021 Oregon Disparity Study budget, which was passed in HB5006 at the end of the 2021 legislative session. 

The goals of the Office of Procurement Equity:

  1. To communicate and promote the importance of procurement equity and its impact on Oregon's economy and communities.
  2. Work to understand specific disparities and challenges faced within public procurement in Oregon.
  3. Focus on deploying strategies and best practices to mitigate disparities and promote equity.
  4. Promote the potential benefits of achieving procurement equity for businesses and the local communities.

What we have found:

  1. Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Analysis of public procurement data reveals significant disparities concerning minority-owned businesses in Oregon. For instance, minority-owned businesses are awarded contracts at a significantly lower rate compared to their non-minority counterparts.
  2. Gender Disparities: Women-owned businesses also face challenges in terms of securing contracts, with a significant gender gap in contract awards and opportunities.
  3. Small Business/Veteran-Owned Business Disparities: Local small businesses and veteran-owned bussineses, despite being a crucial part of Oregon's economy, often struggle to compete against larger corporations for procurement opportunities.

Barriers to Public Procurement:

To effectively address procurement equity, we must acknowledge and address the following barriers:
  1. Limited Access to Information: Disparities often arise due to a lack of information and awareness among underrepresented businesses about procurement opportunities.
  2. Unequal Access to Networks: Some businesses face challenges in accessing networks or establishing relationships that may provide them with procurement opportunities.
  3. Capacity Constraints: Lack of resources, financial constraints, and limited access to capital make it difficult for small and minority-owned businesses to compete on a level playing field.

Addressing Equity:

To achieve procurement equity in Oregon, we are deploying the following strategies:
  1. Enhanced outreach and communication: Improving the dissemination of information regarding procurement opportunities to underrepresented businesses.
  2. Capacity building programs: Establishing mentorship programs and offering resources to help minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and small businesses strengthen their capacity to compete in the procurement marketplace.
  3. Inclusive Sourcing Practices: Encouraging public entities to diversify their supplier base, actively seeking out and supporting veteran-owned, minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses.
  4. Monitoring and Reporting: Implementing monitoring and reporting systems to track progress and ensure accountability in achieving procurement equity targets.

Core Processes:

  • Data Story Telling
  • Building and maintaining relationships
  • Developing and refining policies, procedures and processes to ensure equity in procurement services.