Where We’ve Been February – March 2021 Tools, forms, and trainings developed for City staff to help them implement the City of Asheville Business Inclusion Policy most effectively January 2021 City of Asheville Business Inclusion Contracting Policy goes into effect. City of Asheville MWBE Certification launches to certify more business owned by people of color and women. Certification with the City of Asheville helps these businesses be more likely to be contacted for opportunities to work on City contracts. October 2020 City of Asheville Business Inclusion Contracting Policy was passed by City Council on October 27, 2020. Read the full policy. May-September 2020 City of Asheville Business Inclusion Contracting Policy drafted Between May and September, a team of employees from various City departments created the new City of Asheville Business Inclusion Contracting Policy. This policy will help to expand opportunities in city contracting to more minority- and woman-owned businesses. The policy is planned to go into effect in January of 2021. March 2020 Internal procurement training event On March 4, 2020, a staff training event was held to introduce the changes made to procurement procedures. February 2020 How to become a vendor training held Mountain Business Equity Initiative contract approved by City Council Planning for centralized bid management begins January 2020 Semi-monthly Coffee Huddles kickoff event Exploration of race- and gender-conscious procurement policy begins December 2019 SBE Certification Program finalized November 2019 Vendor Self-Service (VSS) module purchased for City procurement systems VSS lets vendors maintain their own information in our procurement systems, but also allows us for the first time to track records on all vendors, not just those with contracts. This is critical for tracking available businesses, as well as for building more effective outreach programs. The new module will be enabled for new vendors by March 2020, and for all vendors by May. October 2019 Mountain Community Capital Fund launches Symposium on strengthening the economic inclusion ecosystem of WNC September 2019 Engagement begins with Johns Hopkins’ Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) As part of the City’s participation in What Works Cities, staff from the Business Inclusion Office, Capital Projects, and IT kicked off a 6-month engagement to identify ways to use data to improve outcomes for the program. July 2019 Asheville Business Inclusion Office established The City of Asheville began the 2019-2020 budget year by establishing the Asheville Business Inclusion Office to replace the minority business program. For the first time, the Office received an independent budget to fund its first-year plan following the 2018 Disparity Study. Community Planning + Action Cohort begins work A group of eight local business owners and community members began meeting to develop a research-based strategy to respond to disparities and to shape policy, practice, access, and opportunity for entrepreneurs and owners of color.