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Minority, Women-Run Businesses Get Inside Scoop On Landing Major Contracts In Philadelphia

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- With the Democratic National Convention coming to Philadelphia next year, there's a renewed effort to get minority and women-run small businesses access to decision makers on city contracts.

The Democratic National Convention, Delaware River Port Authority and Philadelphia Navy Yard represent just a small portion of the big opportunities in Philadelphia prime for small businesses to cash in on.

"You get to meet with these people eyeball to eyeball," says Blondell Reynolds-Brown, Philadelphia Council Woman At Large. She organized the panel discussion tour of the Navy Yard and networking session for dozens of businesses as part of Minority Enterprise Development Week. She says the purpose is to help small women and minority-run businesses make the connections they need to get city contracts.

"There's still not a level playing field for women and people of color in terms of access to procurement opportunities with the city of Philadelphia," she says.

"We have gotten to a certain plateau," says Kamiera Milligan runs the Milligran Group, a telecom company that provides surveillance services. She says the contacts she made today will help take her small business to the next level.

"I'm more hopeful as a result of coming to this," she says.

Last year, the city awarded roughly 29 percent of $1.8 billion in city contracts to minority-run businesses. Reynolds Brown wants to increase those numbers.

"With a 25 percent poverty rate, we are still not where we need to be with regard to getting people to work," she says, "part of getting people to work is getting these small business to grow."

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