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Program to Level Playing Field for Minority Women-owned Firms in Denver

Division of Small Business Opportunity Ordinance 
unanimously adopted by City Council

DENVER ­— Monday, April 13, 2020 — Denver City Council voted this evening to reauthorize the Hancock Administration’s program to improve contracting opportunities, prevent discrimination, and ensure equity for small minority- and women-owned firms on public contracts. The program, conducted by the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO), offers outreach and technical assistance; works to certify small firms across size, gender, and race-defined categories; establishes project-specific goals for the participation of certified firms on each project; and monitors contract activities throughout the life of projects to ensure compliance.

“This program embodies our city’s long-term commitment to using our public investment to support a more equitable and just marketplace for all companies,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Creating more opportunities for more businesses to create more jobs and better support their workers, especially now with the impacts of COVID-19, is an important part of building resiliency into our economy and helping all companies grow and thrive.”

Notable additions to the ordinance that authorizes the DSBO program to operate include substantially opening up hundreds of applicable business categories for goals and defined pools to include virtually everything the city purchases, a move that will create exciting opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises, known as MWBEs. Under the leadership of DEDO Executive Director Eric Hiraga, DSBO and its city agency partners—including the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI), as well as Parks & Recreation, General Services, and Denver International Airport (DEN)—have also analyzed and improved systems to get all contractors and subcontractors paid faster, a significant advancement for the business community.

“This reauthorization represents years of work across city agencies to strengthen the program, gather and analyze disparity data in our marketplace and bolster our citywide systems to support, certify, train, and engage our disadvantaged firms so that they can compete and thrive,” said Adrina Gibson, DSBO Director.

Public comment on the ordinance’s rules and regulations will be sought this spring as the reauthorization takes effect on May 2.


Denver Economic Development & Opportunity is leading an inclusive and innovative economy for all Denver residents, businesses, and neighborhoods. By supporting local and global business development, workforce programs, and stabilization efforts in Denver’s diverse neighborhoods, we are creating opportunity for everyone to make a home, get a job, and build a future. Learn more at