“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance…being asked to dance means that you are actually being provided the opportunity to show what you are capable of doing”, says Vernā Myers, President of The Vernā Myers Company.
NAWBO Charlotte has been invited by the City of Charlotte’s Business Inclusion department to participate in the current Disparity Study Advisory Committee. We are very honored to be the only women’s business organization in the region to have a seat at the table, and help make each of our voices heard.
What is a Disparity Study? It is defined as “the comparison between the utilization of Minority- and Women-owned businesses on an agency’s contracts and the availability of those businesses to perform the work.” In other words, leveling the playing field for Women- and Minority-owned businesses by addressing any issues relating to gaps in the procurement process.
As a participant in this Advisory Committee we will serve as the voice of all 92,500 businesswomen in the Charlotte Region. We rank #1 in the U.S. for women-owned businesses in the overall economic clout category, generating more than $13 million in revenue and employing 70,000 individuals. Approximately 13 Women-Owned businesses open every day in our area, according to the 2016 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses report.
It is IMPERATIVE for us to engage with the women business community in order to accurately relay any procedural changes you would like implemented.
We are asking women business owners to send us recommendations pertaining to the City of Charlotte procurement process. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: Disparity Study, and share with us any issues you’ve experienced in gaining access to contracts or Small Business Certification.
Our Preliminary Recommendations
We have asked BBC Research & Consulting to include a detailed breakdown in the sub-categories of Minority Owned Businesses. Currently there is one category for White Women-Owned Businesses and one category for Minority-Owned Businesses (men and women together). In order to correct procurement discrepancies within the Minority community, we must know the factual numbers for Women within this classification. We can’t correct gaps in women’s access to government contracts without this data.We believe that in order to help Minority- and Women-Owned Small Businesses, Charlotte should change their contracting goal to match New York City’s, which is currently set at 30%. New York City has been named as the #1 city for Women-Owned Businesses.
A mentor-protégé program where small businesses are partnered with experienced procurement vendors would be very beneficial. By implementing this program for women-owned businesses, the city can offer guidance and opportunities for WBOs to grow.
Inclusion is being asked to dance. We’re asking you, our women business owners, to join us in this dance. We will be your voice. We need your input. Please contact us at email@example.com. RE: Disparity Study. Inclusion is awarding contracts to qualified Women Owned Small Businesses.
The City of Charlotte is having two Disparity Study Public Hearings (9/14 and 9/15.) We look forward to meeting you at one of these sessions and receiving your recommendations via email.