Scared Of Contracting With Minority Owned Businesses!?!

So, I-200 (prohibiting the state from using race or ethnicity in deciding student admissions, employment or contract awards) has lots of detractors, particularly among the minority-owned business community. But this quote is really eye-opening:

“I-200 has impacted state agencies in a way that in some cases they are overly cautious about reaching out to diverse suppliers,” Cooper says. “There’s this atmosphere of ‘I’m not sure I can do this’ and that does not level the playing field. It does just the opposite.”

Essentially, state departments are saying, “It’s not worth the potential headache to hire certified minority-owned firms, so I’m not going to.”  No wonder that less than 1% of state contracts go to MBOs.

The underlying question is, in a period where certification is a hinderance, is it worth getting certified?  Certification gives a stamp of approval to companies to say that they are truly owned at least 51% by a minority (or woman) owner, and that’s great for corporate contracting where large corporations have a certain spend that they’re trying to get to with diverse businesses.  In fact, I know that a lot of companies ask some of their minority-owned firms to get certified so that they can count them officially in their reporting.  But for government, where departments are prohibited from factoring in race, getting certified apparently opens up a whole can of worms.  If we’re going to ask MBOs to get certified, which is a time and money consuming process, we better make sure there’s value in it.


One Response to Scared Of Contracting With Minority Owned Businesses!?!

  1. Here is a good example of a company in Washington State that won’t do business with minority suppliers:


    San Francisco, CA – The Minority Inclusion Council and representatives of several minority rights organizations recently held several demonstrations at McDonalds restaurants in Oregon and California to protest against Lamb- Weston’s unfair treatment of minority farmers.

    These latest protests were done to urge restaurants in the US that buy Lamb-Weston French fries to stop purchasing them until the company vastly improves its treatment of minority farmers in the US.

    Lamb-Weston (which is a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods) is the No. 1 processor of frozen French fries in the United States and is the largest exporter of frozen fries from the United States to Latin America and Asia. Lamb-Weston has angered many minority rights organizations in the United States because of significant inequities that have been found in Lamb-Weston’s procurement and purchasing programs as they relate to minority farmers.

    During the recent demonstrations, the protestors again noted that Lamb-Weston purchases less than 1% of its crops from minority farmers in the United States and has shown no willingness to improve on these dreadfully low numbers. Secondly, Lamb- Weston’s expenditures with minority farmers and minority suppliers is substantially less on a per farmer basis than its expenditures on a per farmer basis with non- minority farmers. Thirdly, Lamb-Weston has no joint venture growers or joint venture suppliers that are of color.

    The Minority Inclusion Council and other minority business advocacy organizations plan to hold more demonstrations (at McDonalds and other quick service restaurants across the US) against Lamb-Weston unless the company does the following:

    * Takes immediate steps to improve its weak and unfair record of business with minority farmers in the United States;

    * Increases business with minority farmers on a per farmer basis so that it is equal with purchases (on a per farmer basis) from non-minority farmers;

    * Establishes a formal procurement equity program that provides minority farmers and minority businesses with more contracting opportunities.

    In order to help in our campaign for fairness and equality for minority farmers, please call Lamb-Weston at 208-388-4287 and tell the company to stop its unfair treatment of minority farmers.


    To learn more about the above mentioned campaign to have Lamb-Weston stop its unfair and inequitable treatment of minority farmers of color and minority suppliers, contact the Minority Inclusion Council at or 415-332-9851.

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