When the Guilford County Board of Commissioners met last month in High Point, there was a lot of handwringing by the commissioners over the fact that the county isn’t doing well at all when it comes to hiring minority- and women-owned businesses for county projects.

The county is currently conducting a disparity study that’s supposed to help in that regard, and the county is now seeking input from local business leaders.

To that end, Guilford County is asking all interested area businesses to take part in a virtual public meeting next month on Tuesday, June 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Those conducting the study hope to hear comments regarding Guilford County government and the county’s MWBE outreach.

The Guilford County Purchasing Department and county officials dedicated to increasing the number of MWBE participants constantly go out of their way to make sure that minority and women-owned firms know about projects being bid.  However, in most instances, the county is legally bound to go with the company that has the lowest bid as long as that company is capable of doing the work.

The meeting will be an opportunity for the leaders of minority and women-owned businesses in Guilford County to share their experiences when it comes to either attempting to do business with the county or actually doing business with it.

Guilford County government has hired Griffin & Strong – a law and public policy consulting firm based in Atlanta – to conduct the Disparity Study and determine the effectiveness of the current efforts and recommend changes in county behavior, if needed, as long as those changes comply with state law.

One goal of the disparity study is to determine “if inequities exist in public procurement and contracting processes that adversely affect Disadvantaged Businesses/ Minorities and/or Women.”

Another objective is “to recommend programmatic remedies which can address any identified underutilization and reduce any barriers that adversely affect the contract participation of Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) firms.”

Those seeking more information – or those wishing to send in their comments on the subject – can email Griffin & Strong at guilfordcountystudy@gspclaw.com.