For female business owners of color, they are in the minority when it comes to their businesses getting government contacts. It’s a problem that has always existed.
But it’s a problem that some political leaders are trying to remedy. Miramar's mayor is one of them.
On Wednesday, Mayor Wayne Messam is proposing an ordinance called the Business Inclusion and Diversity Act to enact in his city.
“There are disparities being a Black business owner,” says Dorothy Brown-Alfaro, who has owned Jador International Corporation from Miramar for over 25 years. “Getting the contracts as well as getting bonding.”
Her latest project is at Terminal ‘H’ at the Miami International Airport. Getting those types of contracts is no easy feat. As a Black female business owner, the odds are stacked against her.
“As a Black business owner, one of the struggles that I’ve had is that I may have bided with some companies for more than 10 or 15 years on the private sector and the government sector and not be successful getting the contract,” says Brown-Alfaro.
It’s a problem business owners of color face with municipalities around the country. The City of Miramar conducted a disparity study on this very issue.
“We did the study and basically confirmed what we thought,” says Messam. “Not enough Black owned businesses, women owned businesses, Hispanic owned businesses were getting due share of the procurement dollars from the city if Miramar.”
The study found only 7.8% of the contracts in Miramar went to female business owners of color from South Florida.
“That’s a perfect example a city’s procurement could inadvertently shut out a business who was trying to crack or get their foot in the door to be able to do business with government,” says Messam.
The mayor wants to change that. The Business Inclusion and Diversity Act proposal is scheduled for Wednesday city commission meeting. The objective of the ordinance to make sure there are fair procurement and contracting opportunities for small minority businesses and minority women who own businesses in South Florida.
“We want to set the example that other municipalities can follow as it relates to one, understanding where you are spending your dollar," says Messam. “Two ensuring that there’s equity in the process and that we’re just conscious, that we are paying attention to ensure that we are making public dollars accessible to all tax payers because its all of our tax dollars.”