Things have been super busy post our Urban Entrepreneurship event with the White House, so I have fallen behind with my blog post about my summer internship with the Office of Supplier Diversity. However, today's opinion piece in the New Orlean's City Business presented the perfect opportunity to use my blog to address the misconceptions of the Office of Supplier Diversity, our disadvantaged business enterprise program, and our role in creating economic development for the City of New Orleans.
Let me begin by first stating, we are not meter maids as the opinion piece so suggest. Yes, enforcement and compliance of the DBE program does fall under our responsibility, but so does certification, outreach, training and capacity building for New Orleans small businesses.
To dismiss our commitment to ensuring 35% DBE participation on city contracts as a fundamental component of the City's economic development strategy, is out right ludicrous. In its most elementary understanding, economic development is concerned with maintaining local competitiveness and supporting business development, which is exactly what the Office of Supplier Diversity is doing.
It is without question that small businesses - firms with fewer than 500 employees - drive the U.S. economy. Small businesses create jobs, are more likely to hire at-risk individuals, and invest more in the communities where they are located. And it is the Office of Supplier Diversity that assist these small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals secure city contracts to sustain their businesses to keep creating jobs, hiring at-risk individuals and investing back in their communities.