New Orleans Report Finds Problems, Progress In Economic Diversity Efforts

Mar 1, 2018

City officials released a report on economic disparity yesterday. It shows that minority- and women-owned businesses are doing better, but the city still has a long way to go.  

The report from Keen Independent Research evaluates whether the city is awarding enough government contracts to women- and minority-owned businesses. It found that nearly 50 percent of city contracts for services like general contracting and home improvement went to minority- and women-owned businesses in 2016. But only 1 percent of private contracts went to African-American-owned companies.  

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“One dispiriting conclusion of the study shows that while businesses owned by women and people of color make up a large portion of the market, private investment disproportionately goes to firms owned by white men," he said.

The report says the city should encourage banks and lenders to give out more loans to small businesses. Landrieu says the city is making an effort - by streamlining the process for getting government contracts. And he says the city is helping women- and minority-owned businesses get more bids. He told the audience of business and community leaders - times have changed -

“ because at City Hall it wasn’t about what you knew. It was about who you knew.”   

Public meetings will be held in March, and comments on the plan and recommendations will be accepted through March 31st.