New Hanover County has recently begun working on an update to their minority- and woman-owned business enterprise (MWBE) program. The goal of the update is to garner a higher rate of MWBE participation on County procurement projects.
The update (which went into effect in November of 2019) now requires a documented good-faith effort to be made by county employees to include MWBE vendors on procurement projects. Additionally, there is now an MWBE vendor list for the county which includes over 200 firms. The county is making efforts to grow this list, given that according to the most recent census data, there were 2,022 MBEs and 4,721 WBEs out of a total of 14,935 firms in Wilmington (the county seat for New Hanover County) alone. MWBEs in the county are encouraged to use the county MWBE program's website (at https://finance.nhcgov.com/purchasing-solicitation/minority-women-business-enterprise-program/) to enroll in the Vendor Self Service system online.
The County spent $6,430,000 out of a total $79,250,000 in goods and services with minority businesses in fiscal year 2019, and has stated a goal of using the documentation and good-faith effort provisions to increase that number in the future.