Voluntary Initiative – the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunity Partnership – Seeks to Enhance Contracting Opportunities 

Baton Rouge, La. (May 2, 2019) – In the run-up to National Small Business Week (May 5-11), a diverse group of Baton Rouge leaders today announced the launch of a new public-private partnership designed to assist the development and growth of Baton Rouge-based veteran, women, and minority-owned small businesses. 

“Connecting small and disadvantaged businesses with procurement opportunities is a core tenet of my administration. It is our strong belief that a competitive vendor field will yield the best outcomes for our constituents,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I am proud to partner with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, MetroMorphosis, EBRPSS, LSU, Southern University, and the private sector to accelerate my vision for this effort. I look forward to tracking the metrics and outcomes and sharing the results with the community.” 

Inspired in part by cities like Cincinnati, where public-private partnerships and business-led collaborations serve as major catalysts for profound community improvements – and particularly the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator program – the Office of the Mayor-President (EBR City-Parish), MetroMorphosis, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) Fair Share Program have worked to establish a partnership with some of the parish’s leading private businesses and its major universities on an initiative to help expand opportunities and foster the development and growth of local veteran, women, and minority-owned small businesses. 

“Today is an exciting day, marking the implementation of a signature goal established by the BRAC Board in our 2019 strategic planand one informed by both the work of BRAC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and a key takeaway lesson from our Canvas trip to Cincinnati,” said Cheri Ausberry, chair of BRAC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and co-chair of BRAC’s 2018 Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop. 

More specifically, the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunity Partnership (BR-POP) will serve as a vehicle for public entities and private businesses, working together on a voluntary basis, to bring intentionality and focus that enhance diversity and inclusive competitive practices to their procurement of goods and services from area vendors. 

To achieve its goals, the partnership will establish a Procurement Council consisting of representatives of the organizing entities – EBR City-Parish, MetroMorphosis, BRAC, and EBRPSS Fair Share – as well as purchasing executives from the following initial participating partners, with an opportunity for other willing partners to join over time: 

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana 
  • CocaCola 
  • ExxonMobil 
  • Jacobs 
  • Louisiana State University 
  • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center 
  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center 
  • Southern University 
  • Turner Industries 

“With inclusion and diversity as core values, Jacobs and its employees are committed to building long-lasting relationships with veteran, women and minority-owned small business partners in the greater Baton Rouge community,” said Jacobs buildings and infrastructure client account manager for Baton Rouge Carlos Giron. “Participating in the Baton Rouge Procurement Opportunity Partnership will provide a meaningful foundation for our local business partners to learn, operate, and grow into independent and more successful enterprises.” 

The Procurement Council will meet bimonthly to share pertinent upcoming contracting opportunities, to provide feedback on suppliers hired, and to cultivate an environment of best practices through shared experiences in seeking to provide leadership in equity purchasing within their respective industries. The Procurement Council will also track key metrics like the number of small businesses that experience increased contracting opportunities, and the dollar amount of total contracts awarded through BR-POP by Procurement Council members. 

Complementing this work will be an ongoing, corresponding initiative led by MetroMorphosis, in consultation with EBR City-Parish, BRAC, and EBRPSS, to identify and cultivate veteran, women, and minority-owned small businesses whose products or services match a given procurement opportunity, and whose qualifications lend themselves to successful execution of contract deliverables. Veteran, women, and minority-owned small businesses seeking more information or wishing to participate can contact Tyra@MetroMorphosis.net or 225-663-2198. 

“At MetroMorphosis, we believe the Procurement Opportunity Partnership is a critical step forward for LaunchBR, which is our effort to create generational change for small businesses who have faced a myriad of challenges in being active participants in our economy,” said Raymond Jetson, chief executive catalyst for MetroMorphosis.  

This initiative will also offer small businesses information and resources to be better prepared to compete for and fulfill contract opportunities through LaunchBRMetroMorphosis’ business development strategy to increase business ownership within underrepresented populations and spur job growth in underinvested communities. Businesses who seek services from LaunchBR complete an assessment, receive a work plan to fill any gaps discovered, and are supported by coaches as they follow one of four paths toward greater capacity and contract awards. 

“This program is vital for small businesses like mine,” said Tevin Wade, construction director for Core Electrical Contractors LLC, one of the small businesses preparing to participate in BR-POP. “Bridging the gap with larger companies and minority owned businesses will build partnerships that help grow not only our companies, but also our communities, which is our number one goal.” 

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