Cities like Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia have thriving and diverse middle classes. It’s not by happenstance. Those cities and their Mayors worked tirelessly to develop policies that enabled small, minority, and women-owned businesses to thrive; encouraged middle class families to live in the city; and created a culture of inclusion. Both are on Black Enterprise’s Top 10 Cities for African Americans. Cities like Boston and Chicago are ranked on the Best Places for Young Latinos. Cincinnati should be on those lists too.
The City of Cincinnati has a lousy record of minority inclusion. Despite the fact that the City is nearly half African American, only 2.7% of city contracts are with African American owned companies. Women-owned businesses account for only 6.2% of contracts and in the last year there were zero contracts with Latino-owned businesses. As mayor, John Cranley will not settle for these lousy outcomes.
John Cranley believes that building and expanding Cincinnati’s African American and Latino middle classes are key components to building a Cincinnati that works for all. And John Cranley believes that increasing the number of contracts with women-owned businesses is essential not only to ensure that women can break the glass ceiling, but that our city becomes known as a place with no limit to anybody’s ambitions.
John Cranley is going to dramatically increase minority contracting in Cincinnati. We can no longer settle for “best efforts.” We need a mayor willing to make and be held accountable to targeted goals. During his first term John Cranley is going to increase city contracts with African American-owned businesses by 5 times, Latino-owned businesses by 3 times, and with women-owned by at least double. He is asking the community to hold him accountable to these outcomes.
John Cranley will implement the following specific action steps to reach these goals:
Immediately Conduct a Croson Study
For too long, the Council has resisted conducting a Croson study that would allow us to create a concrete plan to improve minority contracting. John Cranley will require that the Croson Study be completed within 90 days of the start of the term. A Croson Study is necessary to ensure that we have the basis for the adoption of a minority inclusion program targeted to African Americans, Latinos and Women.
Increase Spending with Minority Owned Businesses in the City
The City’s own SBE report shows that in 2012 only $4.9 million dollars is being spent by the City to work with African American owned small businesses in Cincinnati. That’s just 2.7% of the City’s total spend. The City spent just 6.2% with women owned businesses and the City reports that they spent zero dollars on small Hispanic owned businesses. We must do better.
John Cranley will increase spending with African American owned businesses to at least 15% per year by the end of his first term. He’ll increase spending with Latino owned businesses to at least 3% by the end of first term. And John Cranley will double the City’s spending with women-owned businesses by the end of his first term. The message will be clear: There is no better place for minority owned businesses to locate.
Establish a Director of Minority Inclusion
The Mayor’s Office currently employs a Director of International Affairs, with no clear results. John Cranley will eliminate that position and hire a Director of Minority Inclusion. This individual will report directly to the Mayor and will be responsible for leading an effort to recruit small, women, and minority owned businesses to the City of Cincinnati.
This effort, like the best business recruitment efforts of cities and states, will focus on incentives and economic development opportunities for these important businesses. We’ll work to locate these companies in our neighborhood business districts, which will help to strengthen our communities and not just downtown. We’ll also create partnerships with business programs at the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, encouraging graduates to come to Cincinnati to work and lead.
This Director will also work closely with the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Business Accelerator at the Regional Chamber, the South Central Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, the WBEN-C local council at the Urban League to develop and execute strategies to nurture and grow emerging businesses and to accelerate the growth of all minority firms.
Encourage Cincinnati Companies to Increase Partnerships with Minority Owned Businesses
Three of the sixteen companies on the prestigious Billion Dollar Roundtable are located in Cincinnati, Ohio. To be part of that elite group, Kroger, P&G and Toyota spend more than one billion each year with minority and women owned businesses. Cintas, Macy’s and others have admirable supplier diversity programs as well. We can tap into this expertise and encourage all companies to work together to improve supplier diversity. John Cranley will work with the Chambers and the CBCs to develop a community-wide strategy so that Cincinnati is known as the best city for supplier diversity. Minority owned businesses will choose to locate here because they want access to companies that are internationally recognized for supplier diversity.