Minority, women and disabled-owned businesses are slowly but surely procuring more city contracts - Generocity Philly

Funding

Jul. 5, 2016 8:15 am

Minority, women and disabled-owned businesses are slowly but surely procuring more city contracts

Public and private contracts awarded to those businesses are up 1.2 percent from last year, but the city has a long way to go if officials really want that number to better represent city demographics.

City contracts performed by women, minority and disabled-owned businesses is slowly increasing.

(Photo by Flickr user Alexis Lewis, used under a Creative Commons license)

Social change moves slowly. Government moves even slower. The space between is familiar territory for disadvantaged populations waiting on paradigm shifts.

When it comes to equal economic opportunity, Philadelphia’s women, minorities and disabled populations are still waiting on their government to catch up. It is, albeit slowly.

Last month, the city’s Office of Economic Opportunity released its annual disparity study analyzing the city’s financial interactions with minority, women and disabled-owned businesses in 2015, specifically around city contracts. According to the study, the city spent $951 million on contracts in 2015, and 30.6 percent of that total went toward contracts procured by women, minority and disabled-owned businesses.

That’s an increase of 1.2 percent over one year. Last year’s disparity study yielded a similar figure. Yet, according to Commerce Director Harold T. Epps Mayor Jim Kenney has set an ambitious goal for the Department of Commerce: Get that figure up to 35 percent before 2020.

The city has a fiduciary responsibility to foster a workforce that represents the demographics of its population, said Epps, and it’s a responsibility Kenney’s administration is working to meet inside city government. Earlier this year, the mayor’s cross-sector transition team suggested the city work to boost the number of women, minority and disabled-owned businesses in the city by 50 percent.

That’s the kind of change that seems like it might require a new approach, and new approaches can often come with a hefty price tag. But Epps said increasing the number of contracts performed by women, minority and disabled-owned businesses is not a question of adequate resourcing.

From our Partners

“Ideally we’ve got to increase our proactive intentional due diligence on the contracting side and on the contractor side,” he said. “It’s a focus issue.”

We should be using diversity as an asset, Epps said, because it is one.

There have already been one-off boosts in the number of contracts procured by women, minority and disabled-owned businesses in the private sector recently. Most of the $150 million spent by Democratic National Committee, for example, has been directed toward those businesses.

But there’s no DNC next year. This kind of change needs to produce sustainable outcomes.

“This is an opportunity for Philadelphia to be a best in class city,” Epps said. “By doing this work proactively, strategically and intentionally, we can show that we are committed to contracting that best represents the diversity of Philadelphia.”

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Urbanist and author Diana Lind will lead the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia

A baseball organization for teens and adults with autism is coming to Philly

That thing you do: What happened around Philly in May

Parkesburg

Brandywine Health Foundation

Managing Director, Philanthropy

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Theatre Company

Director of Development

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Friends General Conference (FGC)

Ministry on Racism Program Fellowship (9-month opportunity)

Apply Now

Farrah Parkes: ‘I have always wanted my work to be about making a difference’

Kensington Derby and Arts Festival celebrates on-the-fly inventiveness and spirit of community

Money Moves: The eagle-eyed will notice that these grants and donations total more than $11 million

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Nonprofits and startups can win up to $360K at the WeWork Creator Awards

5738 N. 5th St.

North 5th Street Revitalization Project

Marketing & Communications Intern

Apply Now
5738 N. 5th St.

North 5th Street Revitalization Project

Community and Economic Development Assistant

Apply Now
Jenkintown, PA

National Philanthropic Trust

Graphic Design Associate

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity