COLUMBUS- Today the House passed an amendment to restore the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) division of the Development Services Agency (DSA), which was spearheaded by Rep. Ashford (D-Toledo). Initially, the budget line item was scratched, completely defunding the MBE division. Rep. Ashford, ranking member of the Agriculture and Development Subcommittee, remained persistent in his efforts to persuade members of the House to restore the division. He met numerous times with the Governor’s Office, House Republicans and members of the Agriculture and Development Subcommittee to stress the necessity of keeping the MBE intact.

 “I am elated this amendment passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support. The MBE division is Ohio’s lead facilitator of minority business growth, and an integral component to the sustainability of minority-owned businesses,” said Rep. Ashford. “Many entrepreneurs rely on the MBE to keep them informed of the assistance resources available to their business, which is essential to a flourishing enterprise. The playing field for minority business owners was inequitable for so long, and organizations that promote the growth of these businesses are still very necessary.”

 For many years, Ohio has had the goal of awarding 15 percent of state contracts to minority-owned businesses. Currently, that number stands around 3 percent, with a high of 7 percent in 2011. The restoration of the MBE amendment will allow the division to continue work on raising those numbers.

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