City of Waco hires consulting firm to pinpoint disparities impacting minority-owned businesses

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The City of Waco has hired the firm MGT Consulting to conduct a study in an effort to pinpoint disparities affecting businesses owned by women and minorities.

MGT will conduct research to find out if these groups have a fair opportunity when it comes to landing contracts in the private and public sectors and business owners in focus groups will be able to provide feedback.

Business owners like Wannika Muhammad, the owner of 4 Sons Trucking Incorporated, a family business that’s been in operation for more than 10 years, help drive the Waco economy.

Muhammad said she’s been in the trucking business long before she started her own. “My favorite part is that I’ve been in the trucking business for a long time. Delivering products, services, you know, the things I like best,” said Muhammad.

Muhammad said the city asked her to provide input for its study on disparity within minority and women-owned businesses.

She said there’s room for improvement when it comes to providing businesses with opportunities, especially, since she noticed outside businesses have come into Waco, driving some business opportunities away from local businesses.

“It’s like somebody else coming in and getting the benefit for something we work hard for, yet we don’t access to those opportunities,” said Muhammad, who explained there are a lot of layers to the lack of access.

“It’s not just one particular thing. You can count systemic racism, you can count different inequities, but there’s a multifaceted reason for that,” said Muhammad.

MGT Consulting Director Vernetta Mitchell asked specific questions ranging in topics from discrimination to lending, bonding, barriers to access, and more.

“They had very, very good feedback on what some of those challenges are for businesses. Some of the information that we gather from there, we can take forth and potentially make a recommendation to the city,” said Mitchell.

Muhammad understands outcomes won’t happen overnight, but she’s happy the city is getting the ball rolling.

“This is exactly how it should start on these procurement opportunities. Just having these conversations, it should lead to some positive outcomes,” said Muhammad.

The group will combine feedback from today with data on city contractor spending.

MGT said the study should be done by spring of next year.