Birmingham’s small businesses drive our local economy. Minority and women-owned businesses are fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs nationally and locally, and the City has to do more to support our minority and women-owned businesses.
The Bell Administration has failed to leverage the City’s purchasing power to support minority and women-owned businesses, and groups like the Birmingham Construction Industry Authority that were supposed to help minority contractors have instead become sources of cronyism. New leadership will require a fresh approach toward supporting Birmingham’s minority and women-owned businesses, and as Mayor, I would execute an agenda to support Birmingham’s minority-owned businesses.
Launching the Birmingham Office of Business Opportunity
●Convene a Business Opportunity Working Group to identify best practices and model programming from other state and local offices of minority and women-owned business development
● Make recommendations for the creation and administration of the Office of Business Opportunity that would be housed in the Mayor's Office of Economic Development
Updating and Implementing the Findings from the 2007 Disparity Study
● Instruct the City Law Department to revisit and update the recommendations from the 2007 Disparity Study
● Direct the City Law Department to draft a resolution based on their updated findings that would be referred to the City Council for adoption
Creating an Office of Contract Compliance within the City Law Department
● Instruct the City Law Department to create an Office of Contract Compliance that would work with the new Office of Business Opportunity to ensure that contractors actually comply with contracts that include minority and women participation targets.
Issuing an Annual City of Birmingham Diverse Spend Scorecard
● The Office of Business Opportunity will issue on the the Office of Economic Development's website a "Diverse Spend Scorecard" showing how much the City of Birmingham spends with minority and women-owned businesses.
Forming the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council
● Create an eleven-member Small Business Advisory Council that will develop a small business growth strategy for the City of Birmingham. Half of the members of the Small Business Advisory Council will be Birmingham-based minority and women-owned businesses.
Ensuring that the City Contracts are Awarded to Firms with Active Supplier Diversity Programs
● Instruct the City Purchasing Department to include a score for diversity and inclusion in City requests for proposals where the City will prioritize vendors that can demonstrate that they have active supplier diversity programs for their companies.