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.