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San Antonio Water System
Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise Disparity Study

San Antonio Water System (“SAWS”) is conducting a Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Disparity Study for its utilization of M/WBEs . This research project will examine whether all firms have equal access to contracting opportunities on SAWS’ prime contracts and associated subcontracts, and recommend strategies to ensure inclusion in SAWS contracting.

The study will gather and analyze two types of evidence. First, it will examine statistical evidence of SAWS’ utilization of M/WBEs, and the availability of such businesses as a percentage of all firms in  SAWS’ market area and relevant industries. The study will examine whether there are disparities, if any, between the availability of M/WBEs and their utilization on agency contracts and related subcontracts. The research will also analyze whether M/WBEs experience disparities throughout the San Antonio-area economy as a whole.

Second, the study will gather qualitative or anecdotal evidence of any continuing effects of past or present race and sex discrimination, as well as factors necessary for entrepreneurial success, such as access to business capital, bonding, networks, suppliers, etc.

Another important component is a review of SAWS’ current M/WBE policies.

Finally, the study will present recommendations for future initiatives and enhancements, including the use of contract goals.

The contract for this study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates (CHA), a San Antonio-based, nationally-recognized expert team on disparity studies and contract inclusion programs.

How can you be involved? The participation of business owners is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.

First, the study team will contact some businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to SAWS. Since government agencies, such as SAWS, often only maintain certain records, the consultant must rely on prime firms to supplement the System’s contract data. This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of M/WBEs on SAWS projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the study will present a complete picture of SAWS’ contracting activity. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.

Second, interested persons and groups can be part of the process for anecdotal data collection by participating in a public webinar, and focus groups of business owners and stakeholders to share experiences, insights, and recommendations. The information generated from these sessions will be an important component of the analysis and recommendations. To learn about sessions pertinent to your type of business, please email Colette Holt & Associates at

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