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District of Columbia Disparity Study

The District of Columbia (the District) implements the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) Program which helps businesses better position themselves to compete in District government contracting opportunities. The District has commissioned BBC-Pantera-Tiber to conduct a disparity study to assess whether women- and minority-owned businesses face any barriers as part of the District’s contracting processes. Information from the study will help the District determine whether a disparity exists, assess its efforts to encourage women- and minority-owned businesses to bid on District contracts and help inform what, if any, improvements are needed to optimize the District’s contracting processes.

Study analyses. The crux of the disparity study will be to examine whether there are any disparities between:  

  • The percentage of contract dollars the District spent with women- and minority-owned businesses during the study period (utilization); and 
  • The percentage of contract dollars women- and minority-owned businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of District contracts (availability). 

The study period for the disparity study will be contracts and procurements the District awarded from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020. The study will also examine other information related to: 

  • Legal considerations surrounding the District’s implementation of the CBE program;  
  • Marketplace conditions for women- and minority- owned businesses; 
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs the District currently has in place; and 
  • Potential program measures for the District to consider implementing to further encourage women- and minority-owned business participation. 

Study schedule. BBC-Pantera-Tiber initiated the disparity study in May 2021 and will complete the study at the end of April 2022. For details about the study schedule, click here

Key contacts. If you have any questions or comments regarding the 2021 District of Columbia Disparity Study, please contact: 

Ben Mindes  
Project Manager of Interagency Initiatives
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development 
District of Columbia  
(t) 202-297-7548; (e) [email protected] 

Alternatively, you can contact the project team directly at: 

Stephanie Ayers  
BBC Research & Consulting  
(t) 303-321-2547; (e) [email protected] 

Study progress. The District will provide regular updates about BBC-Pantera-Tiber’s progress on the disparity study throughout its course. Please check back periodically for those updates. 

Project initiation. The District and BBC-Pantera-Tiber initiated the 2021 District of Columbia Disparity Study in May 2021 with a series of meetings with various District agencies and representatives. BBC-Pantera-Tiber met with the District to introduce the study, answer questions, and begin the process of understanding contracting and vendor data the District maintains.  

Data collection. BBC-Pantera-Tiber began working with the District in May 2021 to collect data on contracts the District awarded during the study period (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020) as well as information about the vendors that participated in those contracts. 

Next steps. BBC-Pantera-Tiber will engage in the following disparity study tasks in the coming months: 

  • Community meetings. BBC-Pantera Tiber hosted two webinars in May 2022 for local businesses to share their experiences. 
    In June 2021, the project team will conduct a series of community webinars. If conditions allow, additional in-person community meetings will be held later during the study process. During the community meetings, BBC-Pantera-Tiber will present information about the disparity study, answer any questions, and solicit participants for any verbal or written testimony they would like to share regarding their experiences working in the local marketplace. This page will be updated with a complete calendar of public events as meeting times are finalized. Please participate and make sure your insights are included as part of the study process!
  • Data collection. The project team will continue to work with the District to collect data on contracts it awarded during the study period and the vendors that participated in those contracts. 
  • Data analysis. The project team will begin analyzing data it collects from the District. BBC-Pantera-Tiber will begin assessing the subindustries that account for the majority of District contracting, the geographical area most relevant to District contracting, and the percentage of total contract dollars woman and minority-owned businesses received on District’s prime contracts and subcontracts during the study period.

Availability surveys. The project team will begin conducting availability telephone surveys with businesses in the relevant geographic market area that perform work relevant to District contracting. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure accurate and comprehensive analyses!