Adams. “My concern, though, is whether the agencies will be able to identify the changes they need to make and then find the resources to implement them. I’m also excited about the Website and hope it will show real-time participation.”
The two memorandums represent a great opportunity for minority businesses to finally get their fair share of contracting opportunities, said long-time advocate Hank Wilfong, president of the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses. But, he also cautions them against sitting back and waiting for things to happen. Despite their good intentions, the officials tasked with implementing the orders and their staffs will still need to be pushed.
But because he also recognizes that entrepreneurs have both limited time and resources to devote to advocacy efforts, Wilfong urges them to reach out to associations like NASDB and the Minority Business Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which can provide guidance on how they can all “organize and mobilize” to ensure that the orders don’t become yet another set of empty promises.
Copeland, whose association belongs to both of those groups, agrees. Many of the very acquisitions and procurement officials who have, for decades, denied opportunities to small businesses are still entrenched in the system, he said. And without additional pressure from those who will most benefit from them, the orders will not be adhered to.
“If we can get the carrot coming from the top and we use a hammer from the bottom, we might finally make some headway in this economy and bring prosperity to the businesses that are creating the jobs for the emerging workforce,” Copeland said.