College Board Promotes Minority Business in StateBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 15 May 2013 03:55pm |
Minorities and women currently receive only about 2% of contract work from the states eight universities and colleges. A new initiative that seeks to increase those numbers through an online bidding process.
Public universities are looking for ways to increase diversity among students, faculty and staff. College Board Commissioner Dr. Hank Bounds, says universities are also seeking ways to include more minority businesses in the bidding process on goods and services.
"It's an online, web-based program called 'Where to go 411,' and this group goes out and actively recruits minority vendors for goods and services and then procurement officers on each campus have an easy way to find vendors and so I think it's a great tool for moving the needle on diversity in the State," says Bounds.
The new initiative is called the Mississippi Public University Minority Economic Opportunity. State Senator John Horn of Jackson says the goal is to help minority businesses across the state grow and thrive.
"If you only have money that circulates one time in your community before it leaves it, it creates a very unhealthy status in the community, in those communities, the money circulates 5 to 7 times, you're able to see more people employed, we see better and healthier looking neighborhoods, but we see a lot of decay in the black community, I think a lot of that has to deal with the lack of economic opportunity," details Hohrn.
Other community business leaders say they're looking to this database to increase the knowledge of the existence of these minority businesses.
IHL officials say their goal is to raise minority contract participation around the state to at least 12%
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