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City of San Antonio Disparity Study

The City of San Antonio (“the City”) is conducting a disparity study of its Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (“SBEDA”) Program. The study seeks to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) have equal access to contracting opportunities and that the City’s current program remains legally defensible and effective in its mission.

A disparity study involves compilation of evidence to determine whether the City has a strong basis to continue to implement race- and gender-conscious contracting remedies, and if so, how to narrowly tailor its SBEDA program to cure the disparities. The study will determine the City’s utilization of M/WBEs and the availability of M/WBEs as a percentage of all firms in the market area and relevant industries.  The study will analyze whether there are disparities, if any, between the availability of M/WBEs and their utilization on City-funded contracts and related subcontracts and throughout the San Antonio area economy as a whole.

The study will further examine factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers and other resources. It will also gather anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, and the impact of the current SBEDA program. Another important component is a review of the operations of the City’s current SBEDA program. Based on these findings, the study will make recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements.

The contract for this study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates (“CHA”), a nationally recognized, San Antonio-based, certified S/M/WBE expert team on disparity studies and M/WBE programs. CHA is partnering with Amaezing Marketing Group (“AMG”), a San Antonio based, S/M/WBE public engagement firm.

How can you be involved? The participation of business owners and stakeholders is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.

First, the study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to the City.  This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of M/WBEs on City projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the study will present a complete picture of the City’s contracting activities. Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.

Second, CHA will gather qualitative data relevant to the study.  We will administer a comprehensive electronic survey to collect anecdotal information.  The survey will elicit firms’ experiences and insights in doing business with the City, with the SBEDA program and any barriers to obtaining work in the greater San Antonio economy.  We will also conduct business owner small group interviews.  The information generated from these data collection methods will be an important component of the analysis of whether the SBEDA program remains necessary to level the playing field and to ensure the program remains narrowly tailored.

To learn about sessions pertinent to your business, please email CHA at sanantonio-study@mwbelaw.com.  

We also welcome written submissions or other evidence.

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