Student Fellowship

Increasing Supplier Diversity, Procurement, and Contracting

Project Area:

Economic Development


Green Bay, Wisconsin

Reporting to:

Purchasing Manager

The Challenge

The City of Green Bay is one of the largest employers in the region, and city leadership prioritizes working to create economic opportunities for its residents. As such, the Mayor aims to eliminate structural and institutional barriers to economic progress for residents. He is committed to ensuring that their local government works with and supports a diverse set of local businesses, as he sees entrepreneurship as a major pathway to reducing the wealth divide. While these issues are historical, the present administration seeks to ensure that city contracts reflect the diversity of their community, which includes local tribes, Spanish-speaking populations, immigrants, and communities of color from all around the world. To this end, the city’s leadership is looking to create a plan for supplier diversity in their procurement and contracting processes. For example, they would like a clear set of metrics for ensuing that for the millions of dollars the city provides in contracts, suppliers are reflective of the local population and that entrepreneurs have access to, and are aware of, resources and support opportunities. This effort is part of a larger strategy to reduce wealth inequality within the City of Green Bay.

The Mayor and key stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, are committed to ensuring local government works with and supports the creation of entrepreneurship opportunities. The City has begun working to build this program, recently hiring a Purchasing Manager, who will develop a system to ensure more supplier diversity and contracting with local businesses.  

The fellow working alongside Green Bay officials will help answer these key questions:

  • How can the city improve its current contract process for increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and bolster involvement from a diverse set of local businesses?
  • What best practices create internal systems that can lead to more local, diverse small business?
  • What are best practices for creating a scoring rubric that incorporates DEI efforts?
  • How might the city identify a diverse set of vendors and bring awareness to its efforts to increase supplier diversity and inform vendors of the city’s commitment to increasing diversity in its business partners? How might the city partner (for example, with the State of Wisconsin Small Business Administration) to bolster visibility for a diverse set of local businesses?

The project will help shape the City's first effort to increase supplier diversity and to serve as a leader in the region when it comes to tackling long standing economic inequities.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will:

  • Identify key internal stakeholder roles and responsibilities, create a process map based on existing data and systems internal to the city, including documenting how long the process currently takes.
  • Evaluate and document limitations and barriers for micro- and minority-owned businesses, for example, language and accessibility or institutional barriers, such as existing contracting requirements that may be hard to meet.
  • Research promising tools and processes being adopted by other cities and assess their suitability in Green Bay’s local political, legislative and social context; determine if there is a need for developing new tools from a process standpoint, such as a scoring grid and revised government RFPs.
  • Conduct interviews with small businesses and other key stakeholders, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Regional Planning Group, Governor’s Office and internal taskforces.
  • Develop recommendations for improving and implementing procurement processes/tools with a focus on feasibility.
  • Assess how broader publicity and the mayoral role may be leveraged for communication/marketing; recommend research-informed strategies to improve outreach.
  • Present to city staff, mayor, Chamber of Commerce and/or common council, on recommendations and next steps.

Related deliverables to be defined in concert with the fellow would likely include the following: research on current city system including a process map; analysis of promising practices deployed by other cities, including internal metrics used to track progress over time; a summary report including key insights from stakeholder interviews; recommendations on tools for process improvements and implementation strategies; and a communication/marketing/partnership plan.

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills and experience:

  • Data analysis
  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Cultural curiosity/sensitivity and a learning mindset
  • Marketing
  • Policy analysis
  • Design thinking
  • Writing and editing skills
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