Baltimore City has shared findings from a comprehensive study of work overseen by the Baltimore City Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office with plans ahead to address the results.
The first of its kind since 2014, the study highlights impacts of past discriminatory practices and features recommendations to level the playing field and increase efficiency. The study found that past discrimination in the City’s contracting process by prime contractors against minority and women’s business enterprises has resulted in significant underutilization of minority and women’s business enterprises in contracts awarded by the City of Baltimore.
According to a City press release:
Among the key findings of the study was the need to reorganize the City’s Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office, placing it under the Office of the Mayor as a stand-alone agency. Currently, the office is a small division of the City Law Department, which has been a limiting factor with regards to funding. With this announcement, the Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO) will be placed within the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBD). Combining the two offices will help produce better coordinated efforts and result in a more efficient use of resources.
Additional recommendations include:
- Implementing staff training on business formation to understand the common business barriers as well as the functions of business operations such as bidding and generating capital
- Improving payment terms on city contracts to increase the speed of payment cycles, especially for subcontractors
- Implementing a contract compliance software system for all vendors to report subcontractor utilization and payments.
“My administration and MWBOO, specifically, are committed to supporting minority- and women-owned business and will be working diligently in partnership with City leaders to ensure that these recommendations are adopted and implemented,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Even before the findings of this study were shared, we have been taking the necessary steps to continue to improve services to the M/WBE community – primarily by combining the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women’s Business Development with MWBOO… Baltimore’s success is dependent upon our small, minority, and women-owned businesses and we are working to grow a vast and diverse pool of businesses to partner with and prosper in the City.”