Minority Business Advisory Council 

Download the 2018 Metro Nashville Disparity Study


Minority Business Advisory Council Media Event

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. | Tuesday, August 27 | Steps City Hall

The purpose of this media event is to outline the progress the Council has made over the course of the last year. 

Minority Business Advisory Council Meeting

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. | Tuesday, Oct. 22 | City Hall 

In this meeting, we will discuss next steps related to the Small Business Reserve Program, Living Cities, as well as identifying opportunities for small business owners to participate in citywide workforce development initiatives.

Minority Business Advisory Council Meeting

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. | Tuesday, Dec. 10 | City Hall

In this meeting, we will begin drafting new policy recommendations as it relates to procurement, workforce development, and other small business initiatives.


The purpose of the Minority Business Advisory Council is to:  

  • Provide advice, insight and expertise to Metro in the diversification and opening of its markets, as well as the identification of business opportunities for minority-owned businesses;

  • Provide guidance and feedback about Metro policies and legislation that would favorably impact the growth and development of minority business enterprises, and about practices that would increase the number of minorities starting businesses and further contributing to the growth of Nashville’s economy;

  • Keep the Metro Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and the Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance abreast of important issues and trends in minority business growth, development and ownership;

  • No later than January 31 for the previous calendar year submit an annual report to the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and the Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance that outlines concerns, issues and challenges regarding minority business development and growth and identifies potential initiatives to respond to those issues and challenges;

  • Provide opportunities for higher education partners, private-sector business leaders and workforce development practitioners to provide updates on strategies, challenges and opportunities to impact workforce and talent pipelines that affect minority businesses.


Ashley Northington, Director, DENOR Brands and Public Relations (Council Chair) Ashford Hughes, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Mayor’s Office Jennifer Carlat, Chief Policy Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Toby Compton, President/CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors Yuri Cunza, President/CEO, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Marcela Gomez, President, Latin American Chamber of Commerce Joe Wooley, Executive Director, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce Sam Kirk, Founder, Youth About Business Josh Mundy, co-owner, The Lab Luis Parodi, Business Banking Relationship Manager, Fifth Third Marilyn Robinson, Executive Director, Nashville Minority Business Center Councilmember Tanaka Vercher, Chair, Metro Council Budget committee/member of the Minority Caucus Carolyn Waller, President, Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce Nancy Youssef, President, Curves with Purpose Diane Michel, Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Talia Lomax-O'dneal, Metro Finance Department  

See the Executive Order to create the Minority Business Advisory Council by clicking here.

Our Progress

Mayor David Briley signed an executive order to appoint the Minority Business Advisory Council on April 20, 2018. Since that time, the council has been meeting with city officials and resource partners to better understand the business environment. Our primary goal this year is to make recommendations to Mayor Briley to ensure the equitable distribution of public contracts to women and minority owned businesses based on the results, findings, and recommendations from the disparity study, as well as recommendations gleaned from our own research and experience. Here's a brief snapshot of what we've done so far. 

May 22, 2018

First meeting of the council. We heard from Mayor Briley on the role of the council and its importance. We also heard a brief overview of the roles of of the Business Assistance Office and the dollar spent with minority and women-owned busnesses.

August 31, 2018

We received draft copies of the Metro Nashville Disparity Study.

September 18, 2018

We met with disparity study consultants, Griffin & Strong, to review the study and ask questions.

September 25, 2018

We met to review our process and to outline recommended next steps. 

October 9, 2018

We reviewed in-depth information about how the city's public contracting processes currently work and discussed best practices from across the nation. 

October 18, 2018  

We heard from multiple City partners to learn more about the current capacity building programs for small business owners. We also heard from partners who shared information and updates about the avenues for small business owners to currently access loans, investment, grants, and other funding. We heard from Nashville Business Incubation Center, Pathway Women's Business Center, Entrepreneur Center, Small Buiness Administration, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Tennessee State University Incubation Center, and Business Studio.  

October 23, 2018  

We heard from Metro Nashville Airport Authority Chief of Staff Davita Taylor. Ms. Taylor shared her unique insights on the city's Procurement Nondiscrimination Program's compliance and accountability processes. She'll also share with us some recent steps the Airport Authority has taken to ensure greater contract compliance. 

November 1, 2018  

Mayor David Briley addressed the Nashville Business Alliance to share his vision for minority business owners. Chief Diversty Officer Ashford Hughes presents the disparity study and its findings to the group.  

November 6, 2018  

We met with members of the NAACP who shared their independent research on the contract awards and procurement process for minority business owners. The group also outlined recommendations for Metro Nashville to consider.  

November 9, 2018  

Special meting to review pending legislative changes that affect women and minority businesses.

January 4, 2019  

Nashville Metro Council unanimously passed legislation to establish the Equal Business Opportunity program, resulting from the ordinance announced in November 2018. The legislation calls for race and gender subcontracting goals for Metro contracts.  

January 11, 2019

Mayor David Briley signs the Equal Business Opportunity Ordinance into law.

February 11, 2019  

Mayor David Briley signed an executive order to include LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro Procurement, making Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses. The executive order calls for an LGBT certification process, tracking who contracts their business, and the creation of programs similar to Women, Small and Minority owned businesses. Mayor Briley also awarded a $25,000 grant to Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce to grow LGBT-certified businesses.  

June 5, 2019 

Nashville is accepted into the prestigious Living Cities Accelerator on Inclusive Procurement. This accelerator will support the city's efforts to develop local strategies to improve the outcomes for businesses owned by women and people of color.

June 20, 2019  

The Procurement Standards Board approves regulation changes to implement the Equal Business Opportunity program.  

July 1, 2019 

Metro Nashville provides $25,000 in fundng to the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce for the second year in a row. Metro Nashville also provides $100,000 in funding to the Nashville Business Incubation Center to ready businesses to procure with Metro. 

July 5, 2019  

The Equal Business Opportunity legislation went into effect.  

August 20, 2019 

The Council met to receive an update on all progress relative to economic inclusivity and equity in procurement. 

UPCOMING: November 2019  

The Small Business Reserve Program will go into effect. This program allows Metro Nashville to unbundle select public contracts to allow small businesses to compete for contracts on a tiered basis. Under the Small Business Reserve Program, small businesses – regardless of the owner’s race or gender – will compete for select projects based on size, scope, and capacity.  

Watch a Presentation of the Disparity Study Results

The Metro Nashville Disparity study reviews Metro Nashville’s procurement practices and analyze participation in awards by Minority and Women owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs).

Disparity studies are a means of providing a factual basis for determining whether there are equal opportunities for all firms in the procurement process and support the need, if any, for race or gender conscious, remedial procurement programs. This Study covers contracts awarded between July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2017. If the actual participation of firms is less than what is expected based on firms that are ready, willing, and able to perform on City contracts (“Availability”), then a “disparity” exists. 

The Study also determined whether the disparity is statistically significant enough to suggest any action should be taken and whether factors other than race or gender are likely to have caused the disparity. The video provides an overview of the study and its findings.

Grab Your Copy of the Disparity Study

Watch the Public Hearings on the Disparity Study

The Metro Nashville Council held two public hearings on the disparity study and the conditions for women and minority-owned businesses. You can learn more about business owners' concerns, the current business environment, and solutions business owners proposed by watching the videos below.

Submit Your Own Recommendation

We want to hear from YOU! Are you a business owner, business leader, or business development resource provider? Do you have recommendations you think would make the city's economic environment for women and minority business owners more prosperous? If so, submit your recommendation using the link below.

Submit Your Recommendation

Resources and Tools

Click the links below to access the tools, resources, and information provided to and by the council.