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Hampton nearly quadruples number of contracts awarded to minority businesses

The City of Hampton has nearly quadrupled the number of contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses in the past year.

In FY11 (July 2010-June 2011), the City of Hampton and city schools awarded 31 contracts to minority and women-owned businesses, up from 8 contracts in FY10.

Over 9 percent of all city and school contracts went to minority and women-owned businesses, totaling $8.9 million. In the previous year total contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses totaled $1.2 million.

“We’re making real strides,” said Jessica Spencer, Hampton’s minority business coordinator. “We still have room for improvement, but we’re proud of the increases we’ve seen in the number of contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses.”

Two years ago the city instituted an evaluation process to examine the utilization of minority and women-owned businesses in city and school purchasing.

“We’ve continued to evolve this process, and have strived to better our statistics. We’re one of the few cities in the region who have even started this process. We are probably the furthest along because we’ve done the formal disparity study and plan to update that this year. We’re very proud of our efforts,” said City Manager Mary Bunting.

The results of a 2009 disparity study showed that minority and woman-owned businesses were not getting a fair share of the procurement dollars. As a result, the city implemented a number of practices to increase the use of minority and women-owned businesses in city purchasing, such as creating a small business directory for city staff to reference when soliciting quotes and delivering electronic notifications to minority and women-owned businesses about contracting opportunities with the city.