Skip to content →

City of Charlotte Disparity Study

Colette Holt & Associates (CHA) is conducting a disparity study of the City of Charlotte’s Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program and its Small Business Enterprise Business (SBE) program.

The city seeks to ensure that MWBEs and SBEs have equal access to contracting opportunities and that the city’s current program remains legally defensible and administratively successful

CHA will compile evidence to determine whether the city has a strong basis to continue to implement race- and gender-conscious contracting remedies, and if so, how to narrowly tailor its MWBE program. CHA will determine the city’s utilization of MWBEs and the availability of MWBEs as a percentage of all firms in the market area and relevant industries.  CHA will determine whether there are disparities, if any, between the availability of MWBEs and their utilization on city-funded contracts and related subcontracts and throughout the Charlotte area economy as a whole.

CHA will further examine factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers and other resources. We will also gather anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, and the impact of the current MWBE and SBE programs. Another important component is a review of the operations of the city’s current MWBE and SBE programs. Based on these findings, we will make recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements.

The contract for this study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates, a nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and MWBE programs. CHA is partnering with Paradigm 360 Coach Training, LLC, Apex Business Group LLC, and Viridian Marketing, all City of Charlotte certified firms.

How can you be involved? The participation of stakeholders and business owners is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.

First, the study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to the city.  Like most government agencies, because the city has not collected all the types of specialized contracting records necessary for the study, the consultant must rely on prime firms to supplement missing data.  This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of MWBEs on city projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the study will present a complete picture of the city’s contracting activities. Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.

Second, CHA will gather qualitative data relevant to the study.  We will administer a comprehensive electronic survey to collect anecdotal information.  The survey will elicit firms’ experiences and insights in doing business with the city, with the MWBE and SBE programs and any barriers to obtaining work in the greater Charlotte economy.  We will also conduct follow up business owner small group interviews.  The information generated from these data collection methods will be an important component of the analysis of whether the MWBE and SBE programs remains necessary to level the playing field and to ensure the program remains narrowly tailored. To learn about sessions pertinent to your business, please email CHA at We also welcome written submissions or other evidence.