The City of San José is launching a disparity study to better understand how minority-, women-, disabled veteran-, and LGBTQ+- owned businesses participate in its contracting policies and practices. The study will determine if there are barriers preventing disadvantaged businesses from working with the City and identify ways the processes could be more accessible and inclusive for all San José businesses.
Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, Chair of the Small Business Advisory Task Force and a long-time advocate for small businesses and a disparity study for the City of San José shared, “This is an effort to level the playing field and give small, underrepresented businesses an opportunity to do business with our City. I look forward to the recommendations that come out of the study so we may have the tools to build more equitable contracting opportunities, and increase the value of those contracts. We want to see our small and disadvantaged businesses grow and prosper.”
The City encourages participation and input from the local business community. All San José businesses are invited to attend and contribute to the first Disparity Study Business Engagement Meeting on Monday, November 14, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Details are available at bit.ly/SJdisparitystudy.
The San José City Council approved funding for the disparity study during the FY 2022-23 budget process, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has generously provided additional funding to help offset the cost of the project. “We are certain that shedding light on inequities in our region will bring people together towards our common goal of creating a more just and equitable region,” said SVCF Executive Vice President Gina Dalma.
“The City is deeply committed to advancing and achieving equity and inclusion for everyone in San José, and this study will help us toward that fundamental goal,” said Jennifer Maguire, City Manager of the City of San José. “We look forward to gaining a better understanding of our diverse business community and their collective experiences, and to improve access and equitable opportunities for all those interested in becoming vendors or contracting with the City.”
Launching in November, the study will take about one year to complete and will include a comprehensive review and analysis of the City’s Finance, Public Works, and department-led contracts. A significant portion of the study will focus on engaging with local business owners to hear their feedback on the City’s process for selecting vendors, and their experiences attempting to do business with the City. Ultimately, this study will help to ensure the City’s process for selecting vendors and doing work with contractors is equitable and accessible for all businesses in San José.
MGT Consulting Group, a public sector consulting firm that specializes in disparity and availability studies, is conducting the study in collaboration with the City’s Finance Department, Department of Public Works and the City Manager’s Office, including the Office of Racial Equity and the Office of Economic Development.