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Empowering Women- & Minority-Owned Businesses: Buncombe Looks to Increase Contract Opportunities

For many people in Buncombe County and across the nation, owning a business is the definitive example of the American dream. But access to business ownership isn’t always equitable. In the United States, about 18% of all businesses are minority owned, and nearly 20% are owned by women, according to the latest statistics from the Annual Business Survey. Here in Buncombe County, Census Bureau data used in the State of Black Asheville notes there are 858 black-owned businesses compared to 26,122 white-owned businesses with annual sales totaling $40,000 versus $400,000 respectively.

Buncombe County understands that business ownership is a vital part of creating generational wealth, and we are committed to helping create and grow women- and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBEs). Two key goals for the County’s Finance Department are increasing the number of WMBEs invited to participate in our bidding process and establishing baseline data to track progress on this initiative. Increasing equity in our bidding process is also foundational to our 2025 Strategic Plan. To help us reach this goal, we are utilizing new contract management software that will allow vendors to register themselves online and identify as a WMBE. We will make an announcement and work with our media partners once that software is live.

Meantime, here’s how WMBEs can get involved in the County’s bidding process:

If you have additional questions about Buncombe County’s procurement process, please call (828) 250-4154.