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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Disparity Study on Use of Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses in DC Government Contracting

Friday, May 7, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has kicked off a citywide disparity study to examine the availability and utilization of minority- and women-owned business under DC procurement and contracting activities. The study, a Joint Venture (JV) comprising BBC Research and Consulting and two Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs), Pantera Management and Tiber Hudson, will collect and analyze four years of contracting data (FY17-FY20) over the next year.

“As we build back and recover from this pandemic, we have before us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink how we build more equitable and inclusive communities,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know from years of increased spending with small and local businesses that when DC Government is intentional about who we contract with, that creates jobs and opportunity for our community and makes our city’s prosperity more inclusive. With this study, we can learn more about what’s working and what isn’t, and in doing so, create better opportunities for women and people of color who do business in DC.”

The results and outcome of the disparity study will help the District assess whether there is disparity in its contracting with businesses owned by people of color and women, compared to the availability of such firms. The team will perform a comprehensive, effective, and legally supportable and enorfceable disparity study. The solicitation, issued in November 2020, was a set-aside for CBEs or Joint Ventures that included a CBE partner. Submissions were reviewed and scored by a technical evaluation panel.

“Mayor Bowser continues to be intentional and data-driven when it comes to advancing inclusive economic development,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Selecting the BBC-Pantera-Tiber team to conduct the District’s comprehensive disparity study is a significant step towards ensuring that our businesses owned by people of color and women in the District have a fair shot at contracting with the District. I am excited that this study is underway and looking forward to its findings.”

Over the course of the next year, the BBC-Pantera-Tiber team will engage the District’s small business community, conduct rigorous data collection and analysis, and offer recommendations to improve the experience of small businesses in the District contracting system. The team will submit its final report in April 2022. The study was prompted by legislation introduced by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chairman of the Committee on Business and Economic Development.

“I secured $750,000 to fund this disparity study in the budget because women and minority entrepreneurs deserve fair and meaningful opportunities to participate in the District’s nearly $1B procurement portfolio,” said Councilmember McDuffie. “This is a significant step along the path to re-establishing a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, an essential ingredient to help grow District-based small businesses and strengthen our Black middle class.”

The BBC-Pantera-Tiber team is a Joint Venture created specifically to propose on and conduct the 2021 District of Columbia Disparity Study. The JV is 51 percent owned and controlled by CBEs. BBC Research and Consulting (BBC) has conducted more than 125 disparity studies for different organizations across the country, including recent studies for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the city of Virginia Beach, the City of Boston, the City of San Diego, the City of Indianapolis, and the City of Denver. The firm has also provided extensive litigation support in the successful defense of numerous minority- and women-owned business programs. Pantera is a Black American-owned CBE and a local leader in the regulatory compliance field, specializing in contract compliance, prevailing wage compliance, business inclusion certification, and procurement outreach. Tiber Hudson is a premier Washington, D.C.-based law firm specializing in government contracting, CBE certification and compliance, and minority- and women-owned business programs.

“We are a joint venture that brings together decades of expertise in disparity studies, program implementation, contracting law, and the D.C. marketplace,” said BBC-Pantera-Tiber. “We are dedicated to conducting a disparity study for District government that meets the highest research and legal standards and providing the guidance it needs to encourage minority- and woman-owned business participation effectively and in a legally-defensible manner. We look forward to engaging with the local business community frequently over the next year.”

More information on the Disparity Study can be found here or by contacting the BBC-Pantera-Tiber team at DCdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com.