In economic development, we often encourage the public to spend their money here at home and support our local businesses. Charles County Government likes to shop at home, too, through the Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) program.
Charles County’s SLBE program was created to make it easier for local companies to do business with local government. The program is open to any small, Charles County-based business that offers goods and services that county government buys, and it gives those businesses certain advantages when county departments are making purchases.
Getting On The List
To qualify as an SLBE, local Charles County-based businesses must first be eligible for and certified in the State of Maryland's Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program. Once certified, they may submit an application to the Economic Development Department (EDD) to become a certified SLBE business. Once the application is approved, the firm is added to the online SLBE directory, and county department buyers use the list to identify appropriate vendors when they are buying goods and services.
County procurement policy divides purchases into two categories – formal and informal procurements. Anything under $25,000 is considered an informal procurement, and those are exclusively reserved for SLBE businesses, with a few caveats. Informal procurements also require three price quotes, so if there are fewer than three vendors available on the SLBE list, buyers may work with vendors from outside the county. The three-quote requirement ensures that county government is getting the best prices and using tax dollars responsibly.
Formal procurements are purchases of $25,000 or more. Those require a formal solicitation such as a request for proposals (RFP). For formal procurements up to $500,000, SLBE firms may get certain scoring advantages or preferences.
Goods and Services That County Buys
So, what kinds of goods and services does Charles County Government buy? The list is long, but it typically includes things like construction services and supplies, architectural and engineering services, janitorial supplies, office supplies and furniture, professional services, IT hardware and software, vehicles, vehicle repair services, and more. You’ll find a longer list and more information in this brochure.
To find out more about the SLBE program and determine if your business is eligible, review this checklist for participating small businesses. The program is managed by Lucinia Mundy, the EDD’s Business Development Specialist. For questions, contact her at MundyL@MeetCharlesCounty.com.