The City of Jacksonville, Florida has withdrawn from a disparity study after questioning the initial findings of the report compiled by Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd, a minority- and woman-owned consulting and research firm. The Florida Times-Union reported that Jacksonville is also withholding further payment to Mason Tillman for the study.
The report alleged disparity “for some minority groups in the areas of prime contracts under $500,000 for goods and services, and for architecture and engineering and professional services,” according to the Times-Union. Mason Tillman claims the study is being derailed by a city employee that disagrees with its conclusions, a charge the city denies.
The study included $41 million of at least $144 million in subcontractor payments made by prime contractors working on city projects over a five-year period. A copy of the draft report can be found at http://www.scribd.com/doc/140864609/COJ-Draft-Disparity-Report.
A recent report by CNN Money claims Google and other tech companies are trying to conceal workforce and supplier diversity data and obstruct inquiries into their compliance with federal law. This comes five years after the San Jose Mercury News kicked off a quest to find out the racial makeup of the workforce at the country’s most important Silicon Valley technology firms. Google has declined to release its diversity spending data, claiming diversity data is a trade secret.
According to the Minority Business RoundTable (MBRT), a national non-profit organization for CEOs of the nation’s leading African-American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native-American and other minority-owned businesses, Google is not complying with a federal law that requires every U.S. company with more than 100 employees to file an annual report called the EEO-1, which categorizes U.S. workers by their race and sex. Google has more than 30,000 employees and revenues over $50 billion. Google also has federal contracts and must comply with federal regulations.
The MBRT has called for an investigation into mandatory compliance regulations and urged Google’s officers and directors to appoint a vice president for supplier and workforce diversity.
American Express OPEN has released the results of its 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report. The report is a unique analysis of woman-owned firms and shares a new and nuanced investigation into the growth trends among these enterprises at two different time periods: 1997 to 2002 and 2007 to 2013. The findings indicate that the number of businesses owned by women of color has more than doubled to over 2.5 million since 1997. Overall, it is estimated that there are more than 8.6 million woman-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing 7.8 million people.
The American Express OPEN analysis goes into depth on firms owned by women of color and finds that while they are smaller than non-minority women-owned businesses in number of employees and revenues, their growth in number and economic clout is far above the average woman-owned business.
The full report is available at http://www.openforum.com/keywords/state-of-women-owned-businesses-report/.
The SBA has released a report on access to capital among young, minority-owned, women-owned, and high-tech firms. The report examines how the youngest small firms operated and were financed during the evolving financial environment of the recession. It finds that the major constraint limiting the growth of these businesses is adequate capital.
The report concludes that skill development and training have a critical role in improving the economic performance of women and minority entrepreneurs; targeted initiatives might help them build more viable businesses, encouraging enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines is another option for prospective women and minority entrepreneurs, and developing and expanding networks can help women and minority business owners access needed resources such as financial capital.
High tech firms had higher levels of financial capital; surprisingly, they were more dependent on formal debt financing than were similar firms that were not high tech firms at the start-up phase and in subsequent years before and during the financial crisis.
Both women- and minority-owned businesses (African American- and Hispanic-owned firms) showed some similar disparities in their capital structure relative to firms owned by non-minority men. They used a different mix of equity and debt capital and were more reliant on owner equity investments. The average women- or minority-owned business operated with much less financial capital, even after controlling for other factors including credit score.
The full text of this report is available at www.sba.gov/advocacy/7540.
An interim final rule published in the Federal Register and effective immediately will amend regulations to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 signed in January.
The rule removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. The rule can be accessed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-07/html/2013-10841.htm.
As a result of the rule change, contracting officers will be able to set aside specific contracts for WOSB- and EDWOSB-certified firms at any dollar level which will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to ED/WOSBs.
United States Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, held a hearing on “Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Minority Women.”
The hearing focused on the success of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, since it was enacted 25 years ago, as well as increasing access to capital and credit, access to federal contracts and funding for technical assistance and counseling programs. Sen. Landrieu plans to take the ideas presented by today’s witnesses and use them as the foundation to reauthorize the law - something Congress has not done since 1999. During the hearing, Sen. Landrieu heard testimony from each of the witnesses about the struggles and successes of minority women entrepreneurs.
The Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 extended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 to include business credit, required the Census Bureau to more completely count women-owned enterprises, established the National Women’s Business Council and initiated a pilot program of entrepreneurship training that led to the establishment of SBA’s Women’s Business Center program.
Since the WBC program was formally authorized in 1991, entrepreneurship and small business ownership among minority women has increased significantly. According to estimates by the Center for Women’s Business Research, between 1997 and 2004, the number of privately-held firms that are 51 percent or more owned by minority women grew by 54.6 percent, while all privately-held firms in the United States grew by only 9.0 percent in that same time-frame.
Today, minority women own 1.9 million of the 7.2 million firms with a majority-female ownership, generating $165 billion in revenues and employing 1.2 million people.
An International Finance Center (IFC)-supported report finds that women business owners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have a strong appetite for expansion and are poised to contribute economic growth but require greater access to capital.
IFC’s report, Ready for Growth: Solutions to Increase Access to Finance for Women-Owned Business in the Middle East and North Africa surveyed 431 women business owners across eight economies in the region. Published in partnership with Vital Voices and the MENA Businesswomen’s Network, the report examines women business owners’ need for capital, information, and training to grow their businesses. It advises key regional stakeholders to improve access to financing via tailored financial tools for women business owners.
All women surveyed are members of the MENA Businesswomen’s Network (BWN), which reaches over 25,000 business owners and professionals. While 80 percent of respondents use personal checking accounts, just 18 percent have taken out a commercial bank loan, and only 10 percent have a line of credit for their business. Globally, women-owned firms represent between 31 percent and 38 percent of SMEs in emerging markets, and have unmet annual financial needs of nearly $300 billion. This market represents a legitimate business opportunity for lending institutions and a chance to make a broader positive impact by fostering economic growth and job creation.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.
MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.
Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.
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