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Shelby County to relaunch its MWBE program

TN News - Published Aug 15, 2022

Shelby County is preparing to relaunch its program for minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs) through its Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC). The program has been halted since November of 2020 after a lawsuit, and is now being relaunched after the results of a disparity study the County conducted.

After the Shelby County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance authorizing the new MWBE program, EOC is now developing rules and regulations to implement it. Under the auspices of the program, EOC will set MWBE goals, create a directory of certified businesses, track compliance, issue an annual report on utilization, and more. The mission of the new program will be to increase the amount of contract dollars going to MWBEs from the County. The new MWBE ordinance also includes disabled individuals and service disabled veterans amongst its persons considered to be disadvantaged for purposes of certification.

The study, which examined the period of 2016 through 2020 in Shelby County procurement, found statistically significant underutilization of disadvantaged businesses relative to their availability, particularly amongst Black-owned businesses, which were underutilized across all five business categories surveyed (those being construction, architecture and engineering, professional services, other services, and goods). The study's conclusions forms part of the legal basis by which Shelby County can once again demonstrate a compelling interest in remedying disparities by means of the restarted MWBE program.

Find the EOC at https://www.shelbycountytn.gov/208/Equal-Opportunity-Compliance-EOC.