Charlotte Program Advocates for Small and Minority Businesses

By Steven Coker,

program manager of Charlotte Business Inclusion Program

The city of Charlotte spends millions of dollars annually on contracts for goods and services. During the past two years the city has increased the number of minority business enterprises certified to compete for city contracts and increased the amount of money the city spends on these businesses.

If you own a small business or want to start one, the city of Charlotte is your go-to partner for information and help. We are laser focused on promoting wealth equality by helping minority-owned businesses grow and thrive.

The Charlotte Business INClusion Program

The city’s Charlotte Business INClusion (CBI) program seeks to grow the participation of small, minority and women-owned firms in city contracting to promote economic opportunity and growth. 

The CBI team is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the contracts that are awarded using public funds. “As wealth inequality increases and communities work to overcome racial and gender disparities, the city of Charlotte will be a leader in providing equal access and opportunity for all businesses to grow,” said City Manager Marcus Jones.

Our local economy and minority population are both growing, creating a huge potential for minority business growth. This growth is important because minority businesses create jobs in minority communities and help build wealth among minority families.  Through intentional strategies, policies and procedures, CBI is tasked with registering our minority businesses and including them in city of Charlotte contract opportunities.

Support for minority businesses
To help minority businesses compete for these contracts, the CBI has built a network of local agencies from various fields to provide resources, including:  

  • Government
  • Non-profit
  • Financial
  • Health care
  • Academic
  • Chambers of commerce

Along with this network, the city offers educational opportunities to help MBEs cope with the numerous challenges of running a small business.

We have invested in initiatives such as AmpUp, an educational program that provides MBEs with business knowledge, management know-how and the networks they need to propel their business. AmpUp has been successful in helping participating MBEs accelerate their business to increase revenue, create jobs and positively impact the Charlotte community. 

The city also offers NXT|CLT, an initiative that builds on AmpUP to create a robust pathway of success for businesses owned by people of color.

We believe in listening and learning from our minority business community and providing them with resources based on their expressed needs.  In the coming months, CBI will be administering a capital assistance program to support our certified MBEs who have city contracts and need loan capital.  In addition, to support our construction companies who need assistance with securing surety bonds or increasing their bonding limits, CBI will be seeking a partner that will administer a surety bonding program.

The city of Charlotte believes that through commitment and intentionality, the Charlotte Business Inclusion Program will positively impact many minority businesses and become a national model that we all can be proud of.

Find out more about CBI

To learn more about CBI and the programs that CBI has to offer, please refer to the links below: