Santa Clara County Releases DBE, M/WBE, DVBE Disparity Study

The city is looking to improve its diversity outreach.

Source : Contractor News

May 24, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

At Contractor News we reported in August 2022 that Santa Clara County had partnered with MGT Consulting to conduct a Disparity Study to determine if discrimination is faced by small businesses owned by disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBE) and disabled veteran business enterprise (DVBE).

After almost two years, the Study concluded. The inference shows that there is a stark disparity in the accessibility of government funds to DBEs, M/WBEs, and DVBEs. Only 15% of the county’s contracts went to minority-owned businesses, which roughly translates to a mere $364 million of the total $2.4 billion of funding dispersed between the 2016-21 study period.

Of this, Black and Hispanic/Native American-owned businesses received less than 1% of the funds. DVBEs received 1.5% of funding, while LGBQT-owned businesses got 0.07% of contract monies.

The Study covered contracting and funding opportunities across four verticals: goods and related services, public works and construction, professional services, and non-professional services. A disparity index was used in which 100 represents parity, and a value of 80 or below shows significant disparity (numbers greater than 100 imply over-utilization).

Walter Wilson, co-founder of the Minority Business Consortium of Silicon Valley, explains that this inequality has led many African American business owners, who form a significant portion of the county’s population, to leave their homes.

Similar sentiments are echoed by Dennis King of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley. He explains, “There are many Latinos that are very much part of the workforce, but they’re not part of the ownership.”

Both Wilson and King remain optimistic and say “We have the right people at the Board of Supervisors right now. The fact that they asked for the disparity study says that they knew something was wrong.”

Some of the remedies that were suggested were: creating a County Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program, providing procurement forecast predictions, better data collection policies, and fostering partnerships with advocacy groups that support small and diverse businesses.

Contractor News will keep you posted on the latest developments.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Diversity Outreach

Related Update