Local Purchasing Preference — Phoenix

Phoenix is an example of a city that opted to start small. Rather than adopting a change in procurement policy, in 2012, the City of Phoenix altered its process for informal procurements—smaller contracts—instead. The city rolled out its Local Small Business Enterprise Program, which created a database to register small and local businesses.

Further, the city said that LSBEs would get the first opportunity to submit quotes for all purchases of goods and services under $50,000. The program defines “local” as a firm with a principle place of business in the surrounding county. If fewer than three locally owned businesses submit a quote, the contract next goes to Arizona Small Business Enterprises, or those with a principle place of business within the state.

After just one year, the LSBE Program had achieved a measurable impact. In 2011, Phoenix spent just $50,000 with small, local businesses. By 2013, that figure had jumped to $2.3 million.

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.