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Gov. Whitmer signs directive targeting small and disadvantaged businesses

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer closed out her first week in office by signing yet another executive directive. This is the 8th one she has signed this week.

The new directive is aimed at helping small businesses. It requires the state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to work out a plan to increase the state’s contracts with and purchases from small businesses.

Whitmer says this doesn’t mean the state will have to pay more for these products and services. Instead, she says this is about giving small businesses a chance to compete.

“I think that that’s something that benefits everyone in the state. Certainly small businesses, but the taxpayers as well,” she says.

The directive specifically targets businesses in geographically-disadvantaged areas, like in Qualified Opportunity Zones and those certified as a small business concern by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Michelle Sourie Robinson is with the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, a non-profit that works with minority business enterprises. She says this will help meet their members’ needs.

“One of the things our constituents said is, we need access and simply want to be able to compete as everyone else competes. To be able to be a part of state procurement,” she says.

Rich Studley is with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce – it represents members of the business community. He said in a statement that members say being a government contractor already “involves a lot of rules, regulations, and paperwork.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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