Los Angeles County Friday announced a change to its Community Business Enterprise (CBE) certification program, with the aim of improving opportunities for LGBTQQ-owned businesses to land county contracts.
The county’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs added the LGBTQQ+ certification to create “a new pathway for businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning individuals to engage in county procurement opportunities,” according to a department statement.
“It is essential that county dollars are reinvested in our diverse business community that were most impacted by the pandemic,” the department said. “Through this and similar initiatives we ensure that county procurement becomes a tool to grow and support businesses throughout our recovery and beyond.”
The new LGBTQQ+ certification is the latest addition to the CBE, which helps ensure that businesses owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged people can compete for county contracts. The county’s “CBE Participation Goal for County Contracts” establishes more inclusive practices regarding contracting and purchasing — setting a 25% participation goal for CBE-certified vendors. Other certifications within the CBE include Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise, Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.
To be eligible for LGBTQQ+ certification, a business must be 51% owned and controlled by at least one or more LGBTQQ individuals, according to the new rules. Businesses must also have an active certification with the National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce or through the Supplier Clearinghouse as authorized through the California Public Utilities Commission.
“The county wants to improve access to county contracts for LGBTQ- owned businesses. We want to make sure that public resources are fairly allocated as a part of helping to strengthen historically disadvantaged communities,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “L.A. County stands for inclusion and equity in its contracting, including our vibrant LGBTQ communities.”
Hilda L. Solis, chair of the supervisors, echoed that thought.
“I am committed to ensuring that inclusive and culturally competent practices are integrated into all county contracting and procurement policies,” Solis said. “This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the impact on LGBTQQ and minority-owned businesses. I hope this initiative will further move the county toward true equity in contracting. It’s long overdue.”
Rafael Carbajal, director of the DCBA, added: “Our department is committed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners find success through county contracting. We look forward to serving more LGBTQQ-plus-owned businesses through the Office of Small Business and helping them get connected to new opportunities in L.A. County.”
For more information about how to do business with the county and about the eligibility requirements of the LGBTQQ+ certification, the Office of Small Business is at 323-881-3964.
On Monday at 10 a.m., the DCBA will hold a live virtual forum for people to learn more about the new certification. Register at bit.ly/LGBTQQCert.