Hattiesburg DBE business owner reacts to city certification push

Hattiesburg DBE business owner reacts to city certification push

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Cedrick Bourn owns a contracting company. He and his employees do a variety of construction jobs. He says being a minority business owner is not easy.

“A lot of times we have more hills to climb," Burns said. “A lot of time we have more obstacles.”

According to Mayor Toby Barker, only two minority businesses in Hattiesburg are certified disadvantaged business enterprises. Councilmember Nick Brown wants to get more minority business owners DBE certified so he can work on putting a policy in place where the city would be required to do 30% of its business with DBE certified businesses.

“If everything were fair and equitable, these certifications would not exist," Bourn said. “The mere fact that these certifications are in place, speaks to the fact that everything is not fair and equitable. And that these issues need to be addressed.”

Bourn said he got DBE certified over a year ago. So far, he says he has only done one project for the city. With Brown’s proposed 30% policy, he would hope to do more work for Hattiesburg.

“Local-owned business that’s DBE certified, of course that would potentially put us in line to do more business for the city, which is what we would like to do,” said Bourn.

Bourn believes there are enough minority-owned businesses that could become DBE certified and get work done for the city.

"There are a lot of minorities that do have the knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as the capacity to perform at a high level for government entities,” said Bourn.

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