Hillsborough wants to do more business with ‘disadvantaged’ companies

Hillsborough County did more than $48 million worth of business with minority-owned companies in 2020.

That’s not enough, county officials said Thursday.

The $48.2 million expenditure is 10 times the amount the county spent with minority firms a decade ago, but it still represents just 12.6 percent of the county’s total spending with outside vendors.

The numbers also reflect a two-year decline from a high of $54.7 million in 2018, equal to more than 18 percent of the county’s contract spending that year. Some of the drop was attributed to a pandemic-induced economic slowdown, said Lindsay Kimball, the county’s economic development director.

“We know that, especially during the pandemic, small and minority businesses struggled tremendously,” said County Administrator Bonnie Wise, who noted the county earmarked $94 million in federal CARES Act aid for businesses.

Now the county is pushing its own recovery. It plans changes to its programs for…

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