By Nashville Voice
On Monday, Feb. 11, Mayor David Briley today signed a historic executive order for LGBT-owned businesses, affirming their inclusion as a recognized category for Metro Procurement.
By signing the executive order, Mayor Briley makes Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses.
“It’s my job as Mayor to make sure that everyone in our city, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has equal access to economic opportunities,” Briley said. “Today, we’ve taken an important step towards better equity for LGBT-owned businesses in Nashville. I am proud to sign this executive order and look forward to seeing these Nashville businesses flourish.”
“This executive order reaffirms the fact that no matter who you love or how you identify, Music City is a welcoming place to live and do business,” Briley also said. “I’m grateful to our partners in this effort, including NGLCC, the Nashville LGBT Chamber, Nancy A. VanReece, Brett A. Withers, and Tanaka Vercher.”
According to the Mayor’s Office, the signing is part of Briley’s vision to have Metro Government reflect the diversity of Nashville in its hiring practices, contracting and economic development opportunities, and through the delivery of equitable programs, services, and policies.
“As a city government, we must always strive to make sure we are representing everyone in our community,” said Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, who was present for the signing of the order. “The executive order Mayor Briley signed will allow LGBT-owned businesses in our city to have a fairer shake when it comes to doing business with Metro. It’s an honor to be here today as we continue to make Nashville a more diverse and equitable place for all who live here.”
The executive order represents Mayor Briley’s latest step to spread economic opportunity and prosperity in Nashville to all people, a statement from the Mayor’s Office read.
“The Mayor’s leadership in creating the Minority Business Advisory Council, the Equal Business Opportunity ordinance and Nashville GRAD are earlier testaments of his commitment to ensuring our city’s growth doesn’t leave anyone behind,” the statement also said.
“We are thrilled that Mayor Briley signed this much-needed executive order today,” said Joe Woolley, CEO of Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “This has been at the top of our advocacy list for quite some time.
“(Briley) embraced the idea and even put in a $25,000 grant to the Chamber so we could grow LGBT-certified businesses that were ready to do business with Metro,” Woolley added. We are proud to see Nashville become the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-certified businesses.”
The executive order charges the Metro Purchasing Agent with the following:
- Modifying the business registration documents related to procurement to allow for self-identification as an LGBT-owned business.
- Developing a process to acknowledge LGBT certification and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as the certifying entity, in collaboration with the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce as their local affiliate.
- Monitor and track usage of LGBT-owned businesses in the procurement of goods and services for the Metropolitan Government.
- To the fullest extent permitted by Tennessee law and the Metropolitan Code, provide LGBT-owned businesses with similar programs and services like those offered to Minority, Service Disabled, Small, and Women-owned businesses in Davidson County to ensure such businesses are familiar with how to do business with the Metropolitan Government and are informed about procurement opportunities.
The executive order will result in the consistent provision of critical capacity-building services for all vendors as well as Metro’s better understanding of the firms with which it does and could do business.
By tracking LGBT-owned and certified businesses – and the contracts they bid for – Metro will be able to better understand the availability of LGBT firms and assess if it is contracting with them equitably. This change also sets the foundation for LGBT firms to be included in future official disparity studies.
“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Briley and of our local affiliate chamber, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT entrepreneurs in the Nashville region will now have the opportunity to create jobs and develop innovations that benefit all who live there,” said NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz. “We are excited to see LGBTBEs from all different fields help grow the economy of Nashville and beyond.”