Philadelphia aims to increase number of contracts awarded to minority-owned firms

Iola Harper, who oversees minority contracting for Philadelphia, says the city is looking to increase participation by minority-owned businesses. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Iola Harper, who oversees minority contracting for Philadelphia, says the city is looking to increase participation by minority-owned businesses. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia is trying to expand the number of city contracts going to minority-owned firms as it hosts the 34th annual event highlighting minority businesses and resources to help them grow sustainable businesses and assets.

Known as MED Week — for Minority Enterprise Development — the event is part of the city’s continuing effort to increase of the number of minority contractors providing goods and services to Philadelphia, said Iola Harper of the Office of Economic Opportunity

“We actually currently have a 31 percent participation rate, which means that 31 cents out of every dollar spent by the city in for-profit contracting opportunity are spent with a person of color, a woman, or a person with a disability,” she said.

Marla Hamilton of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, who won an award Monday for her work to expand minority participation, said more work remains.

“It is time to reassess and figure out if we are where we need to be 30 years later. We need to have prime contractors who are minority-owned businesses,” said Hamilton.

The Kenney administration is seeking to increase minority participation by another 4 percent.

The MED Week events continue through Friday.

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