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Source : Contractors News
December 24, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
The Knoxville City Council and Miller3 Consulting conducted a Disparity Study to help City administrators better assist small businesses in bidding for contracts. The Disparity Study interviewed more than 50 owners of "Disadvantaged Business Enterprises" to learn about the obstacles they experience when doing business in Knoxville.
According to city officials, this is the first top-to-bottom disparity study in 25 years.
Their findings can also be utilized to satisfy the Supreme Court's mandate that the city adopt gender- and race-conscious economic policy practices.
According to the survey, about 58 firms are available for architectural and engineering work. Women and members of minority communities own 16 of those 58 businesses. Black-owned businesses account for about 3% of all businesses that Knoxville offers.
Additionally, it mentioned that there are roughly 289 construction companies accessible to handle Knoxville's construction needs. Women own around 15% of those, while African Americans possess about 5%. According to the report, Hispanic Americans owned about 1% of all businesses.
The city has access to about 765 businesses that provide professional services. Approximately 18% of them are owned by women, and African Americans own the most, at 2.6%, more than any other minority group.
According to the report, Knoxville most frequently used minority-owned companies in the nonprofessional services industry, giving these companies around 20% of all payments, purchase orders, and contract dollars the city spent in that industry. The second-highest sector to get funding from the city was the goods and services industry, where minority-owned enterprises got about 5% of contract dollars.
The survey revealed that the majority of women and small and minority company owners felt Knoxville's outreach initiatives were helpful and educational but did not make a significant difference.
It also stated that company owners did not think Knoxville leaders were sincere about putting new tactics into practice to remove barriers and that there was a strong sense among respondents that working with the city was "a waste of time." Simultaneously, the report stated that contractors expressed trouble in locating and establishing contact with DBE enterprises.
According to the survey, establishing a mentor-protege relationship between contractors and business owners is one of the greatest approaches to solving the problems of contractors.