Hattiesburg to look into more DBE certifications for minority-owned businesses

Hattiesburg to look into more DBE certifications for minority-owned businesses

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - At the Hattiesburg City Council meeting Monday night, council member Nick Brown discussed having more certified disadvantaged business enterprises in the Hub City.

According to Mayor Toby Barker, only two businesses in Hattiesburg are DBE certified. Brown wants to work with Barker’s administration to get more minority-owned businesses certified.

“We have companies that we do a lot of work with now, have contract work with now, that have gotten ahead over the years,” said Brown, who represents Ward 5. “Lot of them have gotten rich off the back of the city.”

What Brown is talking about is the potential economic impact minority-owned businesses could have by getting DBE certified. According to state qualifications, 51% of the business must be minority-owned. They must also meet the small business administration size standard and not exceed $24 million in gross annual receipts.

Barker is on-board with Nick’s vision.

“It opens up the business,” Barker said. “Especially when it comes to state and federal projects. To really be at the table and be eligible for those contracts, either as a primary or a sub.”

Barker’s administration is working with Brown to help make this happen right here in the Hub City

“The first thing we have to do is try to encourage our minority businesses to go through the process,” Barker said. “That’s the first step. We also are going to look into creating a local program as well.”

Brown says he wants to have a policy in place where the city is required to do 30% of its business with DBE certified businesses.

“I just want to have more conversation dialogue with the mayor, with other council members, with different contractor, and business owners to get everyone on the same page," Brown said. “And hopefully in the near future, we can put something in place.”

Brown hopes to get a policy in place for more minority-owned businesses to become DBE certified within a year.

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