The Council is taking steps to make sure more small businesses in the state owned by women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities can participate in contracts the Council puts out for bid. A change in Council purchasing practices will engage more diverse businesses in economic opportunities and ensure access to jobs is more inclusive and equitable.
The Council has changed its procurement process so it can assign more of its contracts, in addition to construction contracts, an inclusion goal. The goal describes how much of the work should be available to Minnesota businesses that are owned by women, people of color, veterans or people with disabilities.
The change means the Council can assign inclusion goals to contracts for professional, technical, architecture, and engineering services. Its intended to encourage more disadvantaged and underutilized businesses to bid on locally funded contracts.
The Metropolitan Council Underutilized Business (MCUB) program previously assigned inclusion goals only to locally funded construction projects, similar to goals the federal government requires for federally funded construction projects to promote opportunities among diverse businesses.
“We’ve expanded our program, assigning goals to locally funded contracts that are non-construction related,” said Wanda Kirkpatrick, the Council’s Office of Equal Opportunity Director. “That way we provide more opportunities for these small Minnesota businesses to bid on and participate in Council projects.
A small but important step to address disparities
“We are well aware that the Twin Cities region has a long and persistent history of disparities between people who are white and people of color,” said Kirkpatrick. “The Council is committed to working to ensure that all companies have the ability to participate in business opportunities with the Council.
“While this change in the Council’s procurement practices is a small step toward addressing disparities, it is a step in the right direction toward being more inclusive and equitable in providing economic opportunities.”
The Council advertises contracting opportunities online; see Doing Business with the Council, and works to target and engage businesses that qualify.
Learn more about the Council’s Small Business Programs.