Mayor Jerome A. Prince on March 6 announced he signed an executive order launching a new initiative to significantly increase the amount of goods and services the city buys from state-certified Minority, Women and Veteran Business Enterprises.
Called the “Make Opportunities Viable and Equitable” program, or M.O.V.E., the new initiative ensures certified MBE/WBE/VBE firms have access to and can participate in the city’s procurement process, Prince said.
“Gary was built on an abundance of manufacturing jobs in the steel mills and related businesses, like the railroads and construction,” he said. “Times have changed. We still want and need those businesses, but, small businesses now provide the vast majority of jobs. With the M.O.V.E. program, we’re making sure we do our part to help suppliers succeed.”
The move was the first executive order of the Prince administration.
The initiative is built on setting five “priority levels,” with Gary businesses holding the certifications getting first priority on contracts, followed by focusing on Lake County, IN and Northwest Indiana. Businesses in the State of Indiana and the Chicagoland area, respectively, will be the next priority levels.
Program leaders also will provide monthly reports to Mayor Prince to track each contract and ensure Gary’s compliance with the executive order.
Gary has done business with state-certified MBE/WBE/VBE businesses in the past, but, M.O.V.E. represents the first coordinated effort to encourage small businesses, Prince said.
“Previous mayors have worked with these certified businesses in the past, but, when I took office in January, there was no program dedicated to them,” he said. “The M.O.V.E. program supports my administration’s commitment to Gary and other area businesses.”