Philadelphia to revise procurement policies to support minority-owned businesses
Published: June 11, 2019
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The City of Philadelphia, along with 9 other cities, will step up efforts to support women and minority led businesses.
Philadelphia is 1 of 10 cities that will receive grant funding top support its efforts to bolster minority and women owned businesses. These cities participate in City Accelerator, a program backed by Citibank and the nonprofit group Living Cities, which advises cities on crafting policies that improve conditions for low-income communities, which includes coaching and implementation resources to make their procurement processes more inclusive for these business entities.
Philadelphia, along with Boston, Cleveland, El Paso, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and South Bend, Indiana will all receive grants of $50,000 for this initiative, and will kick off these endeavors next week, with a goal to implement their own locally tailored policies over the next 18 months.
Philadelphia specifically has made more inclusive contracting and procurement a focal point in their strategies to address racial inequality and poverty rates. Indeed, in 2017, Philadelphia allocated 68% of all contract dollars to businesses owned by white males, and most bidding opportunities of less than $100,000 received no bids from minority-owned enterprises. As reported in a StateScoop article, Nefertiri Sickout, Philadelphia’s deputy diversity and inclusion officer, said that these figures can be traced to a procurement process that favors the status quo, as well as bureaucratic obstacles these business often face. Philadelphia will use the program to focus on new technologies and offer better vendor support.
Philadelphia has participated in the City Accelerator program before, previously focusing on municipal service response times and enrollment in public benefits systems. However, this year’s focus on improving procurement for underutilized businesses is a particularly important issue for the City. Minority and women led enterprises should continue to watch these endeavors in Philadelphia, as well as other cities, to stay abreast of policy changes and new procurement processes and opportunities in the coming years.