Super Bowl workshop targets minority, female firms

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Minority and women business owners interested in work related to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis can learn about contracting opportunities at a Tuesday evening workshop.

The event, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Madame Walker Theatre Center on Indiana Avenue, is the first of three such workshops that are part of the National Football League’s Emerging Business Program targeting minority and female participation.

Organizers of the workshops, including the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, say minority and women business owners overall have earned an average of  between $3.5 million and $4 million in contracts from past championship games.

Those opportunities are expected to come from up to 70 contracting categories, including catering, event planning and security, said Tony Mason, senior vice president of the local Super Bowl Host Committee.

Last year’s Super Bowl in Miami attracted about 130 related events during a 10-day period, he said.

“While we can’t guarantee that that many events will occur here,” Mason said, “we know that there will be events and perhaps some opportunities.”

Tuesday’s workshop will feature Francine Powers, president of the Miami-based We’re Having A Party Inc., who has won contracts at four Super Bowls. Also expected at the meeting is Frank Supovitz, the NFL’s vice president of events.

In addition, a panel discussion will be led by Greg Wilson, director of the city of Indianapolis’ Minority and Women Business Division; Nancy Walker, certification coordinator for the state of Indiana’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise Division; and Ivan Baird Jr., director of certifications for the Indiana Minority Supplier Diversity Council.

Companies interested in receiving Super Bowl contracts must be certified as a minority or women’s business enterprise by the city or state. Those who aren’t certified must register by March 31 and be certified by April 30.

The bid process and letting of contracts is expected to begin next year in late summer or early fall.

Information about the companies that meet certification requirements will be published in a resource guide that the NFL and majority contractors can use to locate minority- and women-owned companies. The hope is that majority contractors will keep the guide as a resource when bidding on major projects requiring minority and female participation, Mason said.

Several minority and female contractors, however, already are involved in Super Bowl-related activities.

The near-east side Legacy Project, which includes a large neighborhood revitalization project, has attracted about 30-percent participation from those types of contractors.  

And local minority firm Davis & Associates Inc. is partnering with Indianapolis-based Browning Construction Inc. to build a community center on the Arsenal Technical  High School campus, where ground was broke on Monday.
Minority and female firms have worked in recent years on several large local building projects related to hospitality, including the Indianapolis International Airport midfield terminal, Lucas Oil Stadium, and most recently, the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.

Virtually all contracts have been awarded for the 254,000-square-foot expansion of the Convention Center, set to open in January. Minority contractors received 20 percent of the work, totaling $48 million, while female contractors received $22.2 million, or 9.3 percent of the total $275 million project.

For the expansion, the Indiana Stadium & Convention Building Authority set a goal of 15-percent participation for minorities and 5-percent participation for women.

“I don’t anticipate any large changes, so we will consider our program to be a success when compared to our goals,” Lori Dunlap, the authority’s deputy director said in an e-mail.

Minority and women business owners interested in Super Bowl contracting opportunities can register at www.indianapolissuperbowl.com/emerging-business.


  • Equal All Times
    It is always interesting when you find detractors to minority participation programs attempting to paint it as those who are unqualified when that is never the intent of the program. Additionally, the detractors want to suggest removing the setaside for minorities and substitute that with the organizational choice of which they are a member. The reality is that there is a real movement to spread the revenue participation among minorities, communities, cities and more. This "spread" provides for better economic advantages to the overall Indiana community and provides for more times dollars will recirculate and further the economic prosperity for all. The desire to share the economic wealth to all team members is not one borne out of exclusion but inclusion. For those that feel this inclusion process is one they wish not to participate, it is very easy to opt-out and participate in the bigger piece of the pie that is generally available to all. Being a minority business (Woman owned or Minority) does not guarantee any participation, nor does it allow for unqualified companies. With that being said, why those fully capable of participating in the big pie concentrate their displeasure on the small pie. Their interest is more in keeping you out than getting themselves in!
  • Affirmative what?
    As a woman who has owned two businesses in the last 14 years, I can tell you that being offered an advantage because I am female is insulting and patronizing to the nth degree. It is the same as saying I am not good enough / smart enough to do it on my own. It also is discriminating against non-ethnic and/or male owned businesses. No form of discrimination is right.

    I encourage anyone who falls into an "affirmative action" category to reject it. The only thing it affirms is that discrimination comes in many disguises.
  • Clegg, couldn't agree more
    Mr. Clegg, I couldn't agree more. How about award a percentage of business to the small entrepreneur in general? - you know, the people that had the guts to risk all because they thought they could do it better. When I consider hiring, I don't care about ethnicity - I care if they are qualified. Affirmative action is ludicrous in my opinion. Give the small entrepreneur the break. If that firm happens to be minority owned, then great. Unfortunately the minute someone with bureaucratic authority takes this stance, they will be called out as "racist" or "sexist". So, "minority" and "WOB" firms: enjoy your "opportunity" (inequity) while the political wind is at your back.
    Yours truly,
    "racist" & "sexist" Joe
  • RE: Don't Discriminate
    Your complaint above Mr. Clegg, is the same complaint that minorities have said for hundreds of years in the United States. Remember history? Remember when no business was awarded to minorities even if we were the lowest bidders? Remember when minorities bids were thrown away just because the owner was Black or Hispanic. I guess the answer to your question is, it just happens like that some times. Plus, the minority spend requirement is very minor compared to the entire project. So, I'm sure everyone will have the opportunity to eat at the table.
  • agree
    I guess i could have my wife purchase the company for a dollar just so we have the "opportunity" to bid.
    It is racist and sexist.
  • Don't discriminate!
    Will there be a bouncer at the door, making sure that no white men try to sneak in? Seriously, why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It's good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either--whether it's labeled a "set-aside," a "quota," or a "goal," since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it costs the taxpayers money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it's almost always illegalâ??indeed, unconstitutionalâ??to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and this model brief: http://community.pacificlegal.org/Page.aspx?pid=1342 ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose. Why not have this program open to EVERYONE???

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