The Mayor’s Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) for Baltimore, Maryland has released a report with suggested improvements and recommendations for the future direction of the city’s MWBE program.
The report, titled “A New Day A Better Way,” suggests some of the usual stuff, including changes to contract administration, procurement law and vendor payments to ensure inclusiveness in public works and spending.
But the report also specifically suggests concrete steps the city should take to include MWBE firms in five economic development projects in high-growth sectors that will give these firms an initial push in the right direction.
One of these projects is the “Green, Healthy and Sustainable Homes Project.” The city has already identified 5,000 home renovation and weatherization projects and allocated funding.
The report suggests that as a pilot effort, recruitment for the Green Homes project’s implementation should focus on MWBE firms, and the city should provide the training and certification required to get these firms listed as approved contractors for work on the project.
Another suggested pilot is under the Urban Solar Initiative, wherein a task force will be created to come up with a public-private partnership model that can generate the financing required for wide-spread solar panel array installations in residential, commercial and public city-owned buildings across the city.
The city has already identified public property suitable for solar installations, which together can account for an annual minimum of 50MW of electric power. Again, the report suggests that special efforts be made by the city to ensure inclusion of MWBE developers and firms involved in solar panel installations.
A third suggestion involves a change in tourism marketing strategy and include initiatives that will enhance tourism to culturally diverse points of interest that are outside of the core downtown and inner harbor area most tourist focus on.
They suggest boosting public transportation to these outlying areas, and offering nominal rate listings on Visit Baltimore’s website and marketing materials for attractions, restaurants and entertainment outlets located in these areas.
The other two programs recommended by the report include the Digit All Star Program to help MWBE firms in the IT sector with workforce development, and affirmative action to ensure diversity in the Innovation Cluster Initiative that will promote commercialization of intellectual property in specific fields.
Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake said that the benefits of economic growth must extend to all of the city’s communities.
Sharon R. Pinder, director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development, said that this strategy, once implemented, will not only change the trajectory of the city’s MWBE program, but will also help transform the city’s wealth creation dynamics.
Read the full “A New Day A Better Way” report – Download (pdf)