A policy change at the City of Rockford is designed to boost local businesses. The main goal of the minority business enterprise and women business enterprise procurement policy is to be more inclusive.
“That policy is really about increasing the participation of women and minority owned businesses in the work that the city hires out for,” said Michelle Vella, the Contracts and Grants Compliance Officer for the City of Rockford.
City officials held a discussion to discuss the update and provide information to small business owners on Thursday.
“It was a few things that I learned that I didn’t know before,” said The Feels Candles owner Nena Monroe. “Now, I’m going to take that and work at building my company and expanding.”
Monroe recently started her candle business, she says she feels empowered to hear about the resources available to her.
“I really didn’t know we had anything like this for us,” said Monroe. “So I’m overjoyed to hear that there is people that are rooting for us and that can help us elevate.”
Rockford resident Janessa Wilkins attended the city’s policy discussion to bring back information for women in HomeStart, a low-income housing program.
“It’s all about networking,” said Wilkins. “It’s all about empowering other women, empowering other minorities to get involved and really push themselves to the next level.”
The policy also seeks to increase participation from minority and women businesses to help them compete.
“I think this is probably the most important, increasing our emphasis on prime contractors having to contact minority and women owned businesses to offer them subcontracting,” said Vella.
City officials say statistics show minority, women and immigrant businesses are growing the fastest.
“What we want to do locally is make sure we’re doing everything we can to take advantage of that,” said Economic Development and Diversity Procurement coordinator Matt Simpson. “We don’t want to shy away those demographics, we want to lean into them.”
Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise Certification Renewal Form, click here.