On Monday, Mayor David Briley signed an 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.
The signing is part of Mayor Briley’s mission 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.
“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,” said Mayor Briley. “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.”
The executive order charges the Metro Purchasing Agent with the following:
1) Modifying the business registration documents related to procurement to allow for self-identification as an LGBT-owned business.
2) 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.
3) Monitor and track usage of LGBT-owned businesses in the procurement of goods and services for the Metropolitan Government.
4) To the fullest extent permitted by Tennessee law and the Metropolitan Code, provide LGBT-owned businesses with similar programs and services as 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 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.
“We are thrilled that Mayor Briley signed this much-needed executive order today,” said Joe Woolley, CEO, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “This has been at the top of our advocacy list for quite some time. Mayor 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. We are proud to see Nashville become the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-certified businesses.”
“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 LGBTBs from all different fields help grow the economy of Nashville and beyond.”
“This is a special day not just for my business and my employees but for me personally,” said Jack Davis, founder of Good Neighbor Festivals. “My company prides itself on creating meaningful experiences, building communities, and bringing people together around shared interests. By signing this executive order, Mayor Briley has lifted Nashville up to a higher standard, deciding that in order for our city to truly succeed, we must build a more inclusive and loving community. Today marks a special moment in Nashville’s history, and one I won’t soon forget.”
Councilmember Tanaka Vercher who is a member of the Black Caucus and chair of the Budget & Finance Committee said: “As a city government, we must always strive to make sure we are representing everyone in our community. The executive order Mayor Briley signed today 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 is Mayor Briley’s latest step to spread economic opportunity and prosperity in Nashville to all people. 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.