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Baltimore Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office restructured after study finds underutilization

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BALTIMORE -- Baltimore City's Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office is being reorganized after a study found that minority- and women-owned businesses are significantly underutilized due in large part to historic discrimination, Mayor Brandon Scott's office said Wednesday. 

The key findings of the study were released Wednesday before the Board of Estimates. Among those findings are that past discrimination in the city's contracting process has lead to less contracts being awarded to minority enterprises. 

The office, which currently is a small division of the City Law Department, will be combined with the Mayor's Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development. The mayor's office said the move would open the office up to more funding and make more efficient use of the agency's resources. 

"This combined office will provide more developmental tools and resources to allow for additional availability and utilization of M/WBEs," Scott said in a statement. "Baltimore's success is dependent upon our small, minority, and women-owned businesses and we are working to grow a vast and diverse pool of businesses to partner with and prosper in the City."

The study was conducted by MGT Consulting Group based in Tampa, Florida. The last disparity study was done in 2014. 

The mayor's office said the group also recommended implementing staff training on business formation, which would help them understand common business barriers and how to bid and generate capital. Further recommendations include increasing the speed of payment cycles for subcontractors and utilizing a contract compliance software system. 

"This independent analytical analysis provides the citywide data needed to assess the Minority and Women's Business Program." said Christopher Lundy, Chief of the Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office. "And we are confident that this will serve as a roadmap to ensure that we are navigating a course that eliminates any barriers for M/WBEs to successfully enter the business sector in our city."

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