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Mayor Briley, Metro Nashville Hold Capacity-Building Workshop to Help Build a More Equitable Construction Environment

7/19/2018

More than 110 Minority Business Enterprises, Prime Contractors, National Experts Discuss Opportunities in Contracting with Metro Government

Mayor David Briley and a panel of national experts held a workshop today that brought together an array of local minority business enterprises (MBEs) and prime contractors to discuss tangible strategies and opportunities to increase capacity and foster a more equitable construction environment in Nashville. In addition to hearing from subject experts in law, accounting, finance, and banking, attendees offered their own suggestions to enhance the contracting and procurement processes within Metro Government.

“I am committed to ensuring that all residents and businesses have an opportunity to participate in and gain from Nashville’s recent growth,” said Mayor Briley. “This extends across our administration and especially to how Metro Government manages our own portfolio of contracts and programs. Today’s workshop is one of many initiatives we will be taking to foster a more equitable Nashville by making it easier and more efficient for businesses of all sizes. I was excited to be part of the conversation.”

The workshop was hosted by the Metro Nashville Business Assistance Office (BAO), in collaboration with Bloomberg Associates, as part of its 2018 Business Symposium at the Belmont Law School.

Participating organizations included small, minority- and women-owned businesses, as well as service-disabled veteran businesses. As part of the program, national and local experts along with Metro officials addressed general questions around topics such as navigating bidding and procurement rules, best practices to minimize abuse and establish strong monitoring controls, and clarification of specific rules and guidelines. Additionally, the program identified and highlighted current and potential resources and mentorship programs for MBEs. 

“In our preparation for today’s event, we found that there was ongoing confusion and differing perceptions among our local MBEs and prime contractors regarding Metro’s bidding and procurement processes,” said Bryan Gleason, Metro Business Assistance Office Manager. “Today we addressed some of these directly and, more importantly, identified areas for improvement that will form the basis of an action plan to be developed over the coming months.”

In advance of the workshop, BAO and Bloomberg Associates administered a survey to 31 MBEs and 70 prime contractors, providing a first-of-its-kind opportunity to give input on their experiences with the Metro MBE Program. These insights formed the basis for the workshop agenda and will also support the development of future enhancements, including financing and administrative tools that will help build MBE capacity and pave the way for contracting opportunities with Metro and prime contractors.

Participating workshop experts included Jack Callahan of CohnReznick, Liz Duncan-Gilmour and David Cayemitte of the Minority Business Development Institute, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Sabis of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Tennessee.