NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Nashville Mayor David Briley signed an executive order Monday to help LGBT-owned businesses.
The executive order includes LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro Procurement.
According to the mayor's office, this makes Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses in this manner.
Briley says the order will help "reflect the diversity of Nashville in its hiring practices, contracting and economic development opportunities 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 Briley in a statement. "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."
As of today, Nashville is the first city in the South to include #LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro procurement. This executive order reaffirms the fact that no matter who you love or how you identify, Nashville is a welcoming place to live and do business. pic.twitter.com/AnDqpcfpRc— Mayor David Briley (@MayorBriley) February 11, 2019
The mayor's office says they hope tracking LGBT-owned businesses and their contract bids will help Metro officials better understand the availability of LGBT firms and assess if they are contracting with them equally.
"We are thrilled that Mayor Briley signed this much-needed executive order today," said Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. "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."
The executive order is expected to accomplish the following:
- Modify the business registration documents related to procurement to allow for self-identification as an LGBT-owned business
- Develop 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 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
Several councilmembers have released statements about the executive order.
Councilmember Nancy VanReece:
When I moved to Nashville in 1986, I came as a small business owner and in my first decade here launched six additional successful startups. In 1998, I was one of the original members of what is now known as the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Gay-owned small businesses like mine were not counted in disparity studies or offered assistance from organizations like the NGLCC. That stops now. As the first out woman elected to a legislative body in the State of Tennessee, I couldn’t be more proud of Nashville today, and I thank Mayor Briley for his leadership.
Councilmember Tanaka Vercher:
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.
Councilmember Brett Withers:
LGBT entrepreneurs and business owners played a pivotal role in revitalizing the historic neighborhoods in District 6 and greater East Nashville. Many were also pioneers in establishing the nascent Five Points Business district that today sustains residents and attracts visitors from around the world. As one of two out LGBT Councilmembers, I introduced pro-business legislation that changed Metro’s Codes to expand access to unisex bathroom facilities in Davidson County. I am proud of our city’s history of promoting inclusivity and appreciate Mayor Briley’s bold action to recognize the importance of our LGBT business owners.