Carolinas businesses landed 31 percent of contracts awarded by the local Democratic National Host committee, according to a report presented this week to the Charlotte City Council.
Local convention organizers said spending with area businesses topped $12.8 million, reaching firms in construction, apparel, office supplies, catering, janitorial services and other areas.
The three-day convention last September was the city’s largest and most lucrative, local leaders said this week, with a total economic impact of nearly $164 million.
Organizers had not announced a particular goal on spending with local businesses. But the local host committee did encourage businesses to register with an online vendor directory to hear of opportunities for DNC work.
Of the 4,592 firms that registered, 78 percent of them were local: 3,323 in North Carolina, and 270 in South Carolina, according to the convention organizers’ report.
DNC organizers did announce a “diversity” policy last March, setting a goal to spend at least one-third of their money with companies owned by minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the gay community.
Organizers exceeded that goal, according to the host committee, with 47 percent of contracts going to diverse vendors.
Women-owned businesses garnered 24 percent of convention spending. Black-owned businesses received 19 percent, LGBT-owned businesses received 3 percent, and Hispanic-, Asian- and Native American-owned businesses each received 1 percent, according to the host committee.
It’s hard to say what those figures mean in terms of how these groups fared, two local group leaders said Friday.
Astrid Chirinos, executive director at the Charlotte Latin American Chamber of Commerce, said she needs more information.
Colette Forrest, whose Carolina Regional Minority Partnership Coalition tracked – and later criticized – how the inclusion policy worked, said convention organizers still haven’t detailed total DNC spending and who got what contracts.
“You don’t have (the) context,” Forrest said.
She said more information might hold lessons for Charlotte as the city seeks to pursue other high-profile events.
“We want to make sure that we had some sort of information on how well minorities did with the DNC, so that we can intelligently move forward with future events in Charlotte,” Forrest said.
Involvement among LGBT-owned businesses is likely higher than the report reflects, said Teresa Davis, president of the Charlotte Business Guild, a network among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight communities.
“I have only heard the most positive things from our community about their involvement,” she said.
Davis said she knows of at least one member who participated in a big way, catering the Maryland and New Jersey delegates party, and the Huffington Post Oasis Lounge.
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