Disparity Study

Happening Now

The City of Asheville offers a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program to encourage competition and participation from minority- and woman-owned businesses in City contracting.

The City has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether minority- and woman-owned businesses face any barriers as part of the City’s contracting processes. Information from the study will help inform the City’s implementation of the MWBE Program and help the City better encourage the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in the future.

We need your feedback!

As part of the City of Asheville’s Disparity Study, the City has launched a community conversation about this issue on Open City Hall Asheville. On this platform, we invite area residents and businesses to share insights related to working in the local marketplace.
The goal of the disparity study is to help inform the City’s efforts to encourage the participation of minority, women, and small business enterprises in City contracting and procurement.

So share your experience here. And thanks for participating!


The crux of the disparity study will be to examine whether there are any disparities between: 

  • The percentage of contract dollars that the City spent with minority- and woman-owned businesses during the study period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of contract dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of City contracts (availability).

The study will focus on contracts that the City awarded during the period of July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017. In addition to assessing utilization, availability and any disparities between them, the study will examine other qualitative and quantitative information related to:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the City’s implementation of the MWBE Program; 
  • Marketplace conditions for minority- and woman-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that the City currently has in place; and
  • Potential programs for the City to consider implementing to further encourage small business and minority- and woman-owned business participation.



  • The City and BBC initiated the 2017-18 City of Asheville Disparity Study in June 2017 with a series of in-person meetings with various City departments.
  • Two public meetings will be held July 31 at TD Bank Building, 200 College St., First Floor Conference Room, Asheville, NC 28801: 10 a.m. to noon and 6 to 8 p.m. These public meetings are designed to provide information about the disparity study, answer any questions related to the study, and collect testimony from interested stakeholders about conditions in the Asheville marketplace. Input will become part of the public record for the disparity study. See the presentation from the meeting here.
  • The City of Asheville will provide regular updates about BBC’s progress on the disparity study. Please check back periodically for those updates.

Supporting Documents

Staff report to the Planning & Economic Development Committee - February 2018 and Presentation

Staff report to the Planning & Economic Development Committee - March 2017 

Staff report to City Council (3/28/2017) - Disparity Study Contract Award

BBC Research & Consulting - Disparity Study Cost Proposal

BBC Research & Consulting - Technical Proposal

Disparity Study FAQ

Contact Information

Brenda Mills
Economic Development Specialist

or email AshevilleDisparityStudy@bbcresearch.com