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Source : Contractor News
November 18, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
In the recently published report by Metro Nashville on the Equal Business Opportunity Program for the fiscal year 2023, contracts worth $111 million have been awarded to local women and minority-owned businesses (M/WBE).
Even if the number looks impressive at first glance, it is only 25% of the amount spent last year ($515 million).
The approximately 78?cline in participation does not reflect the administration's overall achievement. The reduced COVID-19 grants and other one-time cash reductions caused the decline.
"The end of emergency spending from the pandemic, fewer dollars from the federal government, and a general leveling out that happens with any new program are all contributing factors," reported Christopher Wood, Metro Finance Manager. "The key takeaway is that payments to these same firms are up by 75%. This program is working and delivering real money to local black, brown, and woman-owned businesses."
According to reports from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, Metro Nashville issued 61 contracts to improve participation for certified M/WBEs. The proposed spending for the contracts was $72 million for black and brown-owned minority businesses and $39 million for women-owned businesses.
Top contracts include the expansion and improvement of the Omohundro and KR Harrington water treatment plants, and the 14-acre Juvenile Justice center.
In addition to other construction, the four-year-old Finance Department diversity initiative will assess M/WBEs' involvement in business contracts issued for the $2.1 billion Tennessee Titans NFL stadium.
Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell said, "In the fourth year of this program, it's clear that it has found its footing and will continue to be a critical resource in our collaboration with minority and women-owned businesses."
The report further broke down the recipients of M/WBE contracts by demography: 33.5% black males, 31.3% black women, and 31.2% white women.