Mayor Andy Berke Thursday afternoon signed an executive order outlining initiatives to benefit minority- and women-owned businesses.

The executive order established a working group to take on several tasks:

  • review current practices about the acquisition of goods and services from minority and women-owned businesses
  • establish a set of guidelines and policies to increase the city’s expenditures with minority- and women-owned businesses
  • appoint a representative to work with nongovernment economic development organizations, such as The Company Lab or the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, to establish a database of minority- and women-owned businesses
  • work with the purchasing department to complete the request for proposal qualifications for an “objective, third-party” analysis of annual city contract opportunities for minority- and women-owned enterprises
  • work with the Company Lab and other local partners to launch a Kiva Chattanooga office. Kiva is a nonprofit that provides loans at 0 percent interest to low-income entrepreneurs and students
Mayor Berke’s order outlined plans to help women and minority-owned businesses. (Photo: Savannah Bennett)

The city’s Multicultural Affairs Director James McKissic said that the executive order builds on efforts of the mayor’s task force started.

“These are taking it to another level and pushing us to do more for the next 90 days and into the future,” he said.

District 3 Councilman and Chairman Ken Smith said he’s proud to continue work to create new opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses to ensure they are a part of the city’s growth.

“This work is a critical step to becoming one Chattanooga,” he also said.