The Columbia City Council on Monday unanimously approved a policy resolution authorizing a program to boost businesses owned by minorities and women. Members of the council expressed their hopes to make the resolution more inclusive with future amendments.
The program is part of the city’s 2016-2019 strategic plan and aims to increase participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in city contracts. As defined in the resolution, a minority- or woman-owned business is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more persons who are African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian American or women.
James Whitt, who was hired by the city to manage the program, said that the city identified a need for the program based on unemployment data from 2013 that showed black unemployment in Columbia was at 15.7 percent, compared to 4.4 percent white unemployment.
Read more: Columbia Missourian