Governor Josh Shapiro Rules Small Business

Gov. Josh Shapiro signs a new executive order

Media Outlet


Becca Roberts

One thing Governor Shapiro can’t change with the stroke of a pen — raising the threshold for small business certification from 100 to 500 employees — is the state’s definition of a small business. It would require the state legislature to pass a new law.

In the meantime, the aim is to create more competition in the market, he said.

“So we’re providing more resources and qualifying more people,” Shapiro said.

But when asked by WHYY if there was a certain percentage of government contracts that would be a target, Shapiro replied no.

“I don’t believe in getting up in front of all these people and putting out an act that’s bullshit and just meant to make people feel good. I believe in tangible results and that’s what we can achieve with this policy,” he said.

The Enterprise Center was founded decades ago to support small business owners in Philadelphia. (Kristen Mosbrucker-Garza/WHYY)

That’s a different strategy from former Gov. Tom Wolf, whose administration, after conducting a disparity study, set a goal that 26.3% of all government contracts would go to small, diverse companies.

In 2020, approximately 20.2% of state contract spending across Pennsylvania went to small businesses, diverse small businesses, and veteran-owned businesses. About half of this went to various small businesses alone.

In 2021, that proportion has fallen slightly to 19%, meaning the state never met the diversity goal.

In Maryland, under the then-government, the state was struggling to meet its own goal of 29% sourcing from minority and women-owned businesses between 2013 and 2021. Larry Hogan.

A few months ago, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order to require agencies to report contracts on minority and women-owned businesses and has made this a focus of his administration.

In Philadelphia, Enterprise Center CEO Della Clark says some communities are too often left out of the marketplace and that access to capital is the best way for small businesses to grow.

“I thought that without capital, you could fix the vulnerabilities of small businesses. I thought you could put it away. Or you could hatch it,” Clark said. “If you need capital and contracts, there is no substitute.”