Main menu


Auckland City | Minority Contracts, Business Support Owned by BIPOC ...

featured image

Oakland, California – Today, the City of Oakland announced the launch of two new business support programs funded by a $ 1 million grant from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Board (EDA).

Half of the funding will support minority-owned training programs for small construction contractors, and the rest will support BIPOC-owned SME technical assistance. These programs are expected to serve more than 1,110 SMEs and up to 50 small construction contractors over the next two years. The city has worked with three trusted community partners with technical expertise and cultural and linguistic abilities to support Auckland’s diverse SME community.

“Through a small number of contractor support programs, Oakland will reduce the barriers that have historically prevented small BIPOC-owned contractors from winning bids on the city’s RFP,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Stated. “By removing these systematic barriers, we can achieve fairer results while leveraging public contract funding to support the growth and prosperity of diverse business communities.”

Minority Contractor Support

Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services provides technical support to BIPOC-owned construction companies so that small minority-owned contractors can bid and win city contracts. One-on-one business support and training prepares contractors to navigate the requirements of construction contracts for urban capital improvement projects. Priority areas of the public contract process include pre-qualification screening, city social policy certification, online bidding, bonding and insurance requirements, and labor reporting requirements.

Merriwether & Williams works with representatives from the Workplace and Employment Standards, Transportation, Public Works, Economics and Workforce Development sectors to identify specific training needs. Bonding access and cash flow bridge loans are among the challenges to be addressed.

Contractors interested in getting support should contact Merriwether & Williams ((510) 740-6922) or send an email to

BIPOC-owned technical assistance support for SMEs
To promote the city’s fair economic development and recovery goals, staff from partner organizations Unity Council and Black Cultural Zone CDC have been staffed by BIPOC along a low-income commercial corridor from east to west Auckland, including 30. Work directly with the small and medium-sized enterprises you own. The Census Area designated as an Opportunity Zone, and the “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” project area in East Oakland, where 51% of the area is within the top 5% of California’s disadvantaged communities.

In addition to providing financial, workforce and technical resources, the outreach team identifies unmet business training needs. Partners will offer 12 new workshops and trainings annually.

Companies interested in receiving support should contact (510) 470-0183 or Karen Gordon Brown in the Black Cultural Zone at Alternatively, visit MayraChavez and UnityCouncil ( or visit

In addition to additional support for the business, the two partners will benefit from training to build the capabilities of the organization.

“EDA Grant advances our goal of supporting and expanding local SMEs to maintain and create good jobs in Auckland,” said Alexa, director of the city’s Economic and Labor Development Division. Jeffres says.

About EDA grants
City officials from the Department of Economic Labor Development and the Department of Public Works have prepared a grant proposal with the Unity Council and the Black Cultural Zone CDC as co-applicants in response to a competitive grant from EDA’s 2020 Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. did. After a multi-step federal review, Auckland’s proposal was awarded $ 1 million in July 2021. Due to the competitive RFP process in late 2021, Merriwether & Williams was selected as a community partner for the Minority Contractor Support Program. In January 2022, the city council passed a resolution to accept and allocate the grant. Contract negotiations and execution ended last month.

Mandatory matches for EDA grants are met by the Black Cultural Zone through the “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” Transformational Climate Community (TCC) grant, which funds business support in Far East Auckland, and by in-kind funding from the Unity Council. I am. And Auckland City.

Continuous business support resources
To keep Auckland companies informed of resources to help them recover and grow from a pandemic, the city Regular business updates.. Companies are encouraged to subscribe to receive these updates.

The Neighborhood business support The program allows entrepreneurs and business owners to schedule one-on-one appointments with city support staff in seven different locations throughout Auckland. Appointments can be booked online at / BizHelp or by calling (510) 238-7398.

About Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services
For the past 25 years, Merriwether & Williams has worked to remove contractor barriers, allowing small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses with disabilities to bid on the construction of more than $ 1.05 billion in public works. Has provided over $ 20 million in contract savings. Sponsor-Partner. Participating contractors have successfully completed their work with a default rate of less than 1%, compared to a much higher average in the construction industry.

About Unity Council
The Unity Council promotes social equality and improves quality of life by building a vibrant community where everyone can work, learn and thrive. Business assistance is provided at the Fruitvale Transit Village Business Support Center and incorporates EDA grants, the Onward Oakland Program, and offerings and resources from a variety of partners.

About Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation
The Black Cultural Zone CDC’s mission is to indiscriminately focus black art, culture, and the economy on the collective design, resources, transformation, and construction of the collective forces of the community. The long-term impact of the BCZ CDC’s vision and mission is the disruption of communities and economic development models, with limited benefits to our most vulnerable communities, especially legacy black communities such as East Auckland. not.

# # #