City of Columbus Q3 WBE Updates from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:30am
City Representatives in Attendance: Director Damita Brown, DaWanna Allen
The Increase Diversity program stemmed from the City of Columbus Disparity Study.
The City of Columbus now offers certifications for LGBTQ businesses. There are plans to offer an additional certification by the end of the year. You can now stack your certifications. This means if you are a woman-owned businesses, you could obtain the WBE certification AND any additional certifications for which you qualify including minority, veteran, etc.
The City has launched a new Vendors website that allows businesses to apply for certification online, to search for other certified businesses, and to find networking and bid opportunities. You can browse the online resources at https://columbus.diversitycompliance.com/.
The City of Columbus has established diversity goals that are not yet delineated. Goals are not specific to MBEs or WBEs but rather to all certified diverse businesses.
Question: Are you tracking how many WBEs get selected for projects?
Answer: The City is in the beginning stages to delineate projects by MBEs, WBEs, VBEs, etc. The City expects to start identifying projects by the various certified businesses by 2023.
Question: Are there contract opportunities that are not listed on the Vendor Services website.
Answer: There are some contract opportunities that go through an informal process and are not listed on the Vendor Services website. They are typically bid opportunities at smaller contract amounts from various departments. You can learn about these opportunities by connecting with the City of Columbus at various outreach events and allowing the Office of Diversity & Inclusion get to know you.
Question: How might we get to know you?
Answer: Connect with the team members at the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and share your needs as a business owner.
Question: Providing price quotes for a bid can be challenging because of the specifications requested by the bid. Sometimes the bid does not account for the complexity of the pricing based on the project. We would need more information about the project to price appropriately. Is there a process to request a solicitation be removed, modified, and released again so we can provide more accurate price/response?
Answer: Some bids have pre-bid meetings so that you can ask questions. We encourage you to attend those pre-bid meetings and ask as many questions as you can. There can also be a period where you can email questions. Many of your questions can be clarified in these two manners. In some cases, departments can pull bids, modify them, and repost on the Vendor Services website.
Join us at the next City of Columbus Update Meeting on 12/13/22 at 11:30am.