123.152 Encouraging diversity, growth, and equity program.

(A) As used in this section, "EDGE business enterprise" means a sole proprietorship, association, partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation, or joint venture certified as a participant in the encouraging diversity, growth, and equity program by the director of administrative services under this section of the Revised Code.

(B) The director of administrative services shall establish a business assistance program known as the encouraging diversity, growth, and equity program and shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to administer the program that do all of the following:

(1) Establish procedures by which a sole proprietorship, association, partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation, or joint venture may apply for certification as an EDGE business enterprise;

(2) Except as provided in division (B)(14) of this section, establish agency procurement goals for contracting with EDGE business enterprises in the award of contracts under Chapters 123., 125., and 153. of the Revised Code based on the availability of eligible program participants by region or geographic area, as determined by the director, and by standard industrial code or equivalent code classification.

(a) Goals established under division (B)(2) of this section shall be based on a percentage level of participation and a percentage of contractor availability.

(b) Goals established under division (B)(2) of this section shall be applied at the contract level, relative to an overall dollar goal for each state agency, in accordance with the following certification categories: construction, architecture, and engineering; professional services; goods and services; and information technology services.

(3) Establish a system of certifying EDGE business enterprises based on a requirement that the business owner or owners show both social and economic disadvantage based on the following, as determined to be sufficient by the director:

(a) Relative wealth of the business seeking certification as well as the personal wealth of the owner or owners of the business;

(b) Social disadvantage based on any of the following:

(i) A rebuttable presumption when the business owner or owners demonstrate membership in a racial minority group or show personal disadvantage due to color, ethnic origin, gender, physical disability, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, location in an area of high unemployment;

(ii) Some other demonstration of personal disadvantage not common to other small businesses;

(iii) By business location in a qualified census tract.

(c) Economic disadvantage based on economic and business size thresholds and eligibility criteria designed to stimulate economic development through contract awards to businesses located in qualified census tracts.

(4) Establish standards to determine when an EDGE business enterprise no longer qualifies for EDGE business enterprise certification;

(5) Develop a process for evaluating and adjusting goals established by this section to determine what adjustments are necessary to achieve participation goals established by the director;

(6) Establish a point system or comparable system to evaluate bid proposals to encourage EDGE business enterprises to participate in the procurement of professional design and information technology services;

(7) Establish a system to track data and analyze each certification category established under division (B)(2)(b) of this section;

(8) Establish a process to mediate complaints and to review EDGE business enterprise certification appeals;

(9) Implement an outreach program to educate potential participants about the encouraging diversity, growth, and equity program;

(10) Establish a system to assist state agencies in identifying and utilizing EDGE business enterprises in their contracting processes;

(11) Implement a system of self-reporting by EDGE business enterprises as well as an on-site inspection process to validate the qualifications of an EDGE business enterprise;

(12) Establish a waiver mechanism to waive program goals or participation requirements for those companies that, despite their best-documented efforts, are unable to contract with certified EDGE business enterprises;

(13) Establish a process for monitoring overall program compliance in which equal employment opportunity officers primarily are responsible for monitoring their respective agencies;

(14) Establish guidelines for state universities as defined in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code and the Ohio facilities construction commission created in section 123.20 of the Revised Code for awarding contracts pursuant to Chapters 153., 3318., and 3345. of the Revised Code to allow the universities and commission to establish agency procurement goals for contracting with EDGE business enterprises.

(C) Business and personal financial information and trade secrets submitted by encouraging diversity, growth, and equity program applicants to the director pursuant to this section are not public records for purposes of section 149.43 of the Revised Code, unless the director presents the financial information or trade secrets at a public hearing or public proceeding regarding the applicant's eligibility to participate in the program.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

Effective Date: 09-26-2003; 09-29-2005