Georgia Tech Director of Diversity Engagement and Program Development Speaks in Support of House Bill 78


Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F., Director, Diversity Engagement and Program Development, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, spoke at the Georgia House of Representatives on Feb. 7th in support of House Bill 78. House Bill 78, proposed by Representative Roger Bruce, seeks to establish an office of supplier diversity, increase the number of companies doing business with Georgia, and calls for a disparity study to pinpoint opportunities to improve the diversity in state contracts and how Georgia distributes state dollars.  

Born of a collaboration with the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), House Bill 78 pulls from legislation that developed a system of review to ensure equity and diversity in the issuance of state contracts in the Department of Transportation. What House Bill 78 seeks to achieve, in short, is to take this legislation and apply it to all Georgia State Departments.  

“Georgia has 159 counties, and 70+ of these counties need economic development. That is part of what this bill is about,” Representative Roger Bruce says. “Any initiative that increases business growth, increases job opportunities, personal income, and local government income is a win-win for everybody.”  

House Bill 78’s proposal was met with enthusiasm, with many community and business leaders speaking out in support of the bill. These leaders included Georgia Tech’s own Donna Ennis.  

In her testimony, Donna Ennis spoke to the importance of supplier diversity programs in contributing to the economic strength of Georgia, and the significance of equitable access to supplier contracts.  

“Between 2016 and 2021, our Georgia MBDA Business Center helped MBEs secure $6 billion in contracts and finance and create close to 6,000 jobs. Many of these contracts were gained through government and supplier diversity programs that provided the opportunities for our businesses to compete,” Ennis said. “We want Georgia to be known as the best state for minority and women owned businesses, and to show that we are the leader in opening the doors for these businesses. HB 78 will be the catalyst for helping Georgia achieve this recognition.”