Nearly $50M spent on minority, women-owned businesses for Memphis convention center renovations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The number of minority and women-owned businesses working on the Memphis Cook Convention Center renovation is the largest in the city’s history.

“This project took us to the next level of our business,” said Jennifer Ransom, president of The Ransom Group, Inc.

Ransom’s company is one of 14 minority and women-owned businesses working as subcontractors for the convention center renovations.

According to the city, nearly $50 million is being spent on minority and women-owned business contracts. It’s the most on any single city project.

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“In a city like Memphis where it is such a diverse city, the contracting should look similar and it should definitely be more inclusive than it has been previously,” Ransom said.

Ransom said this is her biggest job with the city so far. She hired 22 people full-time for the project.

“I think that’s the biggest blessing because we’re able to pass along and have changed the trajectory of a lot of families in the city of Memphis,” said Ransom.

This project had a 30 percent MWBE goal, which means at least 30 percent of the subcontractors had to be minority and women-owned businesses.

“And we look at utilization and availability, so when businesses like Ransom make themselves available with the city, we can set higher goals,” said Joann Massey, director at the Office of Business Diversity and Compliance for the city of Memphis.

Ransom told FOX13 securing a major project like this one sets her up for the next big one.

“Once you’re able to increase your bonding and increase your capital and increase your lines of capital because you’ve completed a job like this, it helps moving forward to be able to get loans and lines of credit and bonding and positions you for the next project,” said Ransom.

The One Beale and Union Row projects are two major multi-million dollars projects in the works.

City staff said both of those projects have goals to hire minority and women-owned businesses for 30 percent of their projects.