Shelby County is introducing a program for minority and women-owned businesses

Shelby County on Monday modified and prepared to restart its program to help minority-owned and women-owned businesses contract with the government, bringing back a program suspended in November 2020.

The county halted the program after it was sued by a group of contractors who argued it discriminated against white-owned businesses.

Now, armed with data showing the district has a legal basis to prioritize businesses that are 51% minority or women-owned, the program is poised to return so the district can commit to “its Use purchasing power in a way that fosters a resilient economy and inclusive economy that fully utilizes all segments of its business population, regardless of race or gender,” reads the resolution adopted on Monday.

“This will be a very important step in restarting this program,” said Commissioner Van Turner, one of the sponsors of the regulation. “I think all commissioners would like this to be reintroduced so we are happy to work together to make that happen. I think the community will be very happy with what we are doing. We’re more specific and more aligned with what they’re doing in the state and city with this program, so I think there will be additional support for the success of this program.”

Commissioners speak Monday, November 4, 2019 during a Shelby County Commission meeting at the Vasco A. Smith, Jr. County Administration Building in downtown Memphis.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the third and final reading of the regulation amending their policy on the programme.

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The Equal Opportunity Compliance Office is now tasked with adopting rules and procedures to implement the program, creating and distributing a directory of certified minority and women-owned businesses, ensuring bids and proposals comply with procurement procedures, and all major contracts monitor with business targets owned by minorities and women.

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