DENVER - Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s landmark minority- and women-owned business legislation and Executive Order signing ceremony remarks as prepared
February 19, 2014
2nd Floor Rotunda, Denver City and County Building
Thank you all for coming out this morning.
You have heard me time and again talk about my mission to create an economic foundation for Denver that assures the city is built to compete in the 21st century. To be a player in the new economy, we must push every lever we can in order to grow, attract and retain jobs here in the City and County of Denver.
In short, we must expand opportunity for our residents and our businesses.
The economic epicenters of the country are shifting west, so we must rise to the occasion or risk being left behind as the nation pushes toward a new economic frontier. Construction and development are driving our economy forward, positioning Denver as the ideal place to start a business, build a career and raise a family.
You can see it happening all around town – this city has regained its energy, and we are now building a global economy that is primed to compete. Here in Denver, we have always taken pride in our entrepreneurial spirit – in our ability to drive our own prosperity and our own future. It is a testament to our resolve that we have always worked to increase opportunity for those who seek it.
But even with this renewed momentum, there are businesses in Denver that are not sharing in our resurgence of economic growth. As recently as the 2013 disparity study, what we found time and again was evidence of impediments to the development and availability of minority- and women-owned business, as well as underutilization of those businesses.
To illustrate the seriousness of the gap that exists, among other irregularities, minority-owned businesses were awarded only 1.84% of goods and service contracts over the study period, and women-owned businesses were awarded only 1.04% - falling significantly short of our goals. This is unacceptable. We must do better, and we will do better.
Denver is built on small businesses that are ready and willing to build. It’s time to open the doors of opportunity to those who have, until now, been overlooked. We demonstrate day after day that the value of inclusion is more than rhetoric in Denver.
This is a new clarion call. Across the city, our private sector partners are working tirelessly to provide more opportunities to women- and minority-owned businesses. and we encourage them whole heartedly to do more. Here at the city, we, too, are making the commitment to do more, because we cannot ask the private sector to do what the city is not.
Today, I’m signing into law two city ordinances, as well as one executive order, that are designed to open the doors to opportunity for these businesses.
Council Bill 38 creates new opportunities to develop capacity for M/WBEs and small business enterprises through the EBE program, tiered goals, teaming agreements and mentor-protégé efforts.
Council Bill 39 establishes a comprehensive plan to address disparities that exist in the city’s contracting process and marketplace by opening up new procurement opportunities. CB39 creates a structure tailored to expand competition with an M/WBE goals program through a variety of new programs..
It’s not nearly enough to simply say that we are going to expand opportunities for small business. Success must be measured so it can be thoroughly and appropriately quantified.
In keeping with our Peak Performance initiative to ensure that each of our programs is the most efficient and effective that it can be, these two bills will be supplemented by my executive order. Executive Order 101 will require city departments and agencies, when soliciting services and goods for the city, to compile information from contractors and consultants on their efforts toward diversity and inclusiveness, and report these to the Denver Office of Economic Development. It will also encourage inclusion of diversity and inclusiveness policies as criteria in selection policies where legally permitted.
The legislation I am signing today is landmark for the City and County of Denver, because of the landmark opportunity we as a city are determined to provide to our women- and minority-owned businesses.
Promoting diversity, inclusiveness and opportunity through city contracts and procurements furthers our goals of achieving sustainable economic development, attracting a workforce ready to compete in the global economy, and supporting the growth and development of all businesses. You can see it at work at the Hotel and Transit Center Program, where 118 minority- and women-owned businesses are building our new facility. This equates to 39.5 percent of the firms involved in the program and is one of the most ambitious diversity programs the city has ever undertaken – until now. It’s also working over at the Corky Gonzales library, which is just beginning to come up out of the ground, and is well on its way to meeting its M/WBE goal of 31.5%.
This is the type of opportunity you will see time after time coming from this administration. Every chance we get to help a business grow, we will take it.
There are many folks here today who played a part in this process. First, I want to thank City Council for joining us in these efforts. I want to thank Chris Martinez, our Director of Small Business Opportunity, who was integral in shepherding these ordinances through the process, and to whom much of the responsibility for managing the program will fall.
To Stephanie O’Malley, who worked on this initiative when she served as my Deputy Chief of Staff, Former City Attorney Doug Friednash, current city attorney Scott Martinez and your team of Deanne Durfee and Vicki Ortega, thank you as well.
Finally, I also want to thank the many businesses that provided industry views and support to the city as we undertook this effort. Every corner of the sector – from large businesses that have traditionally received these contracts to the several M/WBEs that came to the table – was represented in the shaping of these ordinances.
That process was truly groundbreaking. Everyone was at the table, and everyone was invested in ensuring that this program would create a true opportunity for emerging businesses. Thank you all again for coming out today, and with that, let’s sign these into law…