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Source : Contractor News
August 31, 2022
Author : Patty Allen
A recently published disparity study for the City of Alexandria in central Louisiana shows how minority and women-owned firms face an uneven playing field when vying for city contracts.
Keen Independent Research conducted the study, which began in June 2020 and was recently completed. The findings revealed that more work remains to be done to close the opportunity gap.
The survey found that 77% of city contract money was spent on local firms in Central Louisiana and that 30% of local enterprises available for city contracts are owned by people of color or women (MBE/WBEs). Keen Independent Research warned that if minority firms are left behind, the regional economy will suffer.
Of 1,680 city contracts and subcontracts, only 6% went to minority or women-owned businesses. This is considerably less than the 20% projected before the study. African-American, Asian-American, Native American, and white women-owned enterprises have seen maximum discrepancies.
According to Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall, this was the first time the city did a disparity study examining companies participating in city procurement and contracts, and the results were startling.
As per the disparity study, the disadvantages do not extend to small firms in general, since 88% of city contract money went to small businesses. It was the lack of contracts with MBE/WBE small enterprises that was so startling.
Mayor Hall said, “We want all people to have a fair share and a fair shot at being successful in business, and the only way to do that is to start doing that with a program that’s going to work.”
Keen Independent offered remedies and initiatives to bridge the gap, like collaborating with other public, commercial, and nonprofit partners in Central Louisiana to help new enterprises access greater possibilities.