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Mayor signs bill to improve opportunities for M/WBEs

MWBE Ordinance Signing

Mayor Michael B. Hancock surrounded by Denver City Council Members, businesses representatives and city executives as he signed landmark legislation Feb. 19, 2014, which is designed to improve opportunities for M/WBEs. (Photo: Courtesy city of Denver)

DENVER — Mayor Michael B. Hancock signed legislation Wednesday that is intended to be a benchmark in economic growth for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Amongst a group of Denver City Council members, business representatives and city executives, Hancock signed Council Bills 38 and 39 and Executive Order 101 Wednesday morning, according to a press release from the city of Denver.

The legislation is designed to “break down barriers commonly faced” by minorities and women looking to expand their professional pursuits and ambitions in Denver, said Wednesday’s release.

“This city has regained its energy, and we are now building a global economy that is primed to compete,” Hancock said. “Denver succeeds if we all succeed. After more than a year of community engagement, I am proud of this tailored package of tools we have created to sharpen Denver women- and minority-owned businesses’ competitive edge. This landmark legislation will level the playing field toward work at city hall and set a standard for the private sector.”

The news came after another significant step forward for M/WBEs in Denver, as Denise Burgess, president of Burgess Services, was awarded the largest contract ever given to a black-owned business.

The $39 million contract for heating and air conditioning was awarded by the Denver International Airport, reported FOX31 Denver’s Jon Bowman Tuesday.

Burgess said she was thrilled to land the opportunity in her hometown, and plans to give sub-contracts to other women- and minority-owned businesses to accomplish the multi-million-dollar job.

The new laws and ordinances were a result of the 2013 Disparity Study, which uncovered evidence of constraints for M/WBE economic growth and under-utilization of minority- and women-owned business products and services, according to the city.

The study laid out suggestions on annual goals to improve this imbalance.

“Denver is embarking on a bold data-based, community driven solution to creating parity in the marketplace,” added Chris Martinez, director of the city’s Small Business Opportunity unit. “These legislative actions are set to ingrain a value of opportunity within our departments, but it will take hard work every day to deliver on the high standards we have created for how we conduct business at the city.”

The legislation goes into effect on April 1.

1 Comment

  • Shari Schroeder

    How wonderful that minorities and women have been given opportunities and assistance to become small business owners as these doors were difficult to open for many years. But, I think an effort to assist ANY small business owner who qualifies through criteria other than race and gender is now in order!! Being a woman, I still feel opportunities need to be balanced and that the days of catering to only specific persons based on above criteria is no longer fair. I can attest to this by example when my son applied for a small business loan. He was turned down and actually told the reason: he was male and not a minority. This was 23 years ago!! He has developed and operated a very respected business which constantly gives back to the community. Had I not personally been able to fund the start up, this opportunity would have been missed for him, his employees, his family and the community as well as satisfied customers.

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