In the largest increase in the last five years, the City of Columbus increased its spending with minority suppliers for City contracts by 50% from 2016 to 2017, spending more than $53 million on prime and subcontracts. A total of 12.5% of City contracts were awarded to minority- or women-owned businesses.
“One of my goals has been to expand the use of women- and minority-owned businesses for City contracts to show our commitment to the economic growth of all businesses,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “I want to make sure that the city procures the best services, while also providing equal opportunities for all qualified businesses to compete for contracts.”
At the City, supplier diversity represents the promotion of economic inclusion for minority and women-owned business by creating added value to the City’s sourcing and procurement processes. This is accomplished through intra-departmental collaboration and the integration of diversity best practices, timely market research and continuous improvement processes.
To be certified with the City of Columbus, minority and women-owned firms need to complete the certification application and supporting documents available on the City website.
“Central to our success in diversity and inclusion is the commitment, leadership and collaboration of numerous partners, internal to the City and within the greater Columbus community at large,” said Damita Brown, Interim Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Supplier diversity is evolving from a check-the-box corporate social responsibility requirement to a strategic enabler that makes us more competitive as a community and open to all.”
In 2016, $45 million – or 8.4%% of city contracts – was spent with minority suppliers. Supplier diversity has not topped 9% in the last five years. The increase from 2016 to 2017 is significant because it happened without policy changes or mandates.
“I am pleased that we have seen this increase occur organically, without policy changes, through collaborative efforts between city departments and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion – and I expect this trend to continue,” said Mayor Ginther. “Once the disparity study is completed early next year, we will be able to prepare a roadmap for necessary policy changes to ensure minority- and women-owned businesses have a fair chance to compete for City business.”