The City of Memphis will now benefit from a nationwide cohort called City Accelerator that aims to support local government projects that impact lower income residents.
An initiative of Citi Foundation and Living Cities, City Accelerator will grant the City of Memphis $100,000, allowing the City to test new ways to drive sustainable growth and increase opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
Memphis will work together with Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles and Milwaukee to refine its procurement spending, pursuing at least one new strategy to enhance diversity of city vendors and contractors, while directing more spending to local minority-owned businesses.
Specifically, Memphis will develop policy and process reforms in the procurement system. For example, the City will use data from a recent study of disparity in city contracting to target areas with available minority vendors who are underutilized in the public procurement system.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says Memphis' inclusion in the program will strengthen the City's efforts to create a more equitable economy.
"We know that for our economy to work, it must work for all," Mayor Strickland said. "That's why the City of Memphis' performance with minority and women-owned businesses has been a priority of mine since becoming mayor."
City of Memphis’ Office of Business Diversity and Compliance (OBDC) has worked to increase the amount of city contract spending with small, minority and women-owned businesses from 12 percent when Mayor Strickland took Office in 2015 to 20 percent as of March.
"At the City of Memphis, we are intentional about growing our business with small, minority and women-owned businesses— and just as intentional about empowering these businesses to grow," director of OBDC Joann Massey said.