City Seeks to Increase Business with Minority-Owned Firms

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Seeks to Increase Business with Minority-Owned Firms

Posted: 02/08/2012
The City of Knoxville released two reports during its Council meeting Tuesday night that address its goal of conducting 10% of all business with minority- and women-owned firms.

The first, the Mid-Year Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Report, showed that in the first half of Fiscal Year 2012 the city conducted 8.2% of its business with women-owned firms for a total of $1.45 million, and 2.8% with minority-owned firms for a total of $494,000. While the city exceeded its combined goal of 10%, minority-owned businesses still account for a very small percentage of City contracts.

The second report, Doing Business with Minority Businesses - Performance Assessment, was prepared by Minter & Associates, a management consulting firm based in Knoxville. Minter received a contract with the City last summer to determine why there is not a greater number of bids and proposals from minority-owned firms (Phase I), and to develop an action plan to assist the City in acquiring more submissions from these businesses (Phase II).

"This report clearly shows that we have a lot of work to do to increase participation of minority-owned businesses," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "I'm looking forward to an action plan that will help us provide opportunities to a broader base of local business owners who can benefit and contribute to our local economy."

Some of the findings in the Minter Report, Phase I, are:

Communication and outreach efforts do not effectively target minority-owned firms. Attainment of the 10% goal is not tied to departmental performance appraisals. Goals have not been re-evaluated since 1999 and are not based on objective criteria to make them reasonable, feasible, and achievable. The numbers of minority businesses working as subcontractors are extremely low due to the lack of a systematic outreach process that would encourage prime and sub-contractors to pursue relationships in order to team together for City contracts.