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Inclusive procurement challenge
Living Cities and the Citi Foundation announce results of inclusive procurement challenge
Posted on 01/29/2019
Today, Living Cities and the Citi Foundation together released Culture, Collaboration and Capital: Leveraging Procurement for Economic Equity. This is a guide of actionable steps cities can take to close the racial gaps that often exist in local contracting. According to the Urban Institute, local governments spend $1.5 trillion annually in the United States on everything from construction to supplies to technology systems. When done well, government spending can lead to the growth of businesses with racially diverse owners, spurring more equitable job creation and intergenerational wealth transfer. 

“My administration has been intentional in its efforts to grow minority and women owned businesses,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “The expert advice and the grant that Living Cities and Citi Foundation provided for our team was invaluable.”

Memphis, along with four other cities, Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, and Milwaukee, WI participated in the 18-month City Accelerator with support from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation to find innovative, effective, locally-tailored strategies to leverage public purchasing power to develop firms owned by people of color.  

“The investment made by Mayor Strickland, along with the execution of bold and innovative strategies, has reaped benefits for Memphis,” said Director of Business Diversity & Compliance Joann Massey. “We’re just getting started and will work to improve on the progress we’ve already made.”

Over the course of the challenge, Memphis worked to break down barriers to that inhibited businesses owned by people of color from contracting with the City, such as a pilot to ensure faster payment of contractors.  As a result of intentional efforts, the city doubled its spend with minority business enterprises (MBEs) in the first two years of Mayor Jim Strickland’s tenure. In addition, they partnered with FedEx, Start Co, Epicenter Memphis and Christian Brothers University to launch the 800 Initiative to increase the collective revenue of African-American-owned startups that are scaling up by $50 million within five years.

For more information about the City Accelerator program, click here
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