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Memphis Light, Gas and Water recognizes the power of diversity and the vast resource a diverse pool of suppliers provides businesses. As the number of minority, women and local small business owners grows in Memphis, we want to ensure that our suppliers reflect this increasing diversity.

Policy Statement
It is the intent of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division to encourage the growth of minority-owned, women-owned and locally owned small business enterprises. The Supplier Diversity Program provides these businesses an equitable opportunity to participate in contracts for goods and services in a contractor or subcontractor arrangement with MLGW. This will ensure that a representative proportion of the goods, services and construction projects purchased and contracted by MLGW are supplied by minority-owned, women-owned and locally-owned business enterprises (MBE, WBE, LSB).

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division invites businesses or vendors which meet one or more of the criteria below to participate in our Supplier Diversity Program.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) is defined as a business, which is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a person, or persons who are minority group members. For these purposes, minority group members are African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian-Pacific Americans, who are U.S. citizens.

Women Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is defined, as a business which is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a female or group of females who are U.S. citizens.

Local Small Business (LSB) is defined as a business which is located in Shelby County, Tennessee, whose average gross annual sales in the last three years are less than SIC category limits for the contractor SIC code found in 13 CFR, Part 121.601, and which is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a resident or residents of the Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Program Process
Important points to remember about MLGW's procurement policies and procedures:

  • Most goods and services are purchased or contracted through a competitive bid process.
  • Requests for competitive bids are solicited by telephone, written requests for quotations and public advertisement for sealed bid. All bids for material, equipment and supplies can be viewed using MLGW’s iSupplier Portal while bids for contracted services are automatically forwarded to bidders that have registered at MLGW's Bid Notification System.
  • All suppliers and contractors requested to bid receive the same information.

In accordance with appropriate legal standards, MLGW will actively seek businesses owned by minorities and women, as well as those owned locally for participation as subcontractors to the apparent lowest and best bidder on all contracts.


MLGW utilizes the certification of any recognizable entity that certifies businesses covered under the MLGW Supplier Diversity program definitions (MBE, WBE, LSB). The certification must be based on the business being 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a person or persons representing one of the three business classification outlined in the program definition.

Certifying organizations include, but are not limited to:

  • Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum’s Uniform Certification Agency
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
  • Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council
  • National Minority Supplier Development Council
  • City of Memphis Certification
  • Shelby County Government's Certification (only MBE and WBE)


Local Bidding

MLGW shall give Local Bidding Preference in the awarding of contracts and making purchases whenever applying such a preference is reasonable in light of the dollar-value of the bids received in relation to such expenditures. If there is no Local Bidding Preference designation, either due to non-participation or non- eligibility after the 5% differential, then Local Bidding Presence will be considered. Local Bidding Presence will be demonstrated by the total number of individuals a business employs within Shelby County, Tennessee.


Sheltered Market Policy

Certain purchases and contracts within the Purchasing and Contract Management department are designated as sheltered market opportunities, which will only be open for competition by and between Locally-owned Small Businesses (LSBs). Sheltered market opportunities shall exclude contracts pertaining to purchased power and gas, loans, grants, financial assistance, legal services, and banking contracts. The sheltered market designation shall be made only when there is a reasonable expectation that bids and proposals will be obtained from at least three reasonable LSBs and that the award will be made at a fair market price.


Advocacy Agencies
MLGW’s advocacy agencies are community partners helping to progress the growth and sustainability of minority-owned, women-owned and locally owned business enterprises (MBE, WBE, LSB). Our advocate agencies include but are not limited to:


For additional information on MLGW's Supplier Diversity Program, please contact:

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division
Tamara S. Pate
Supplier Diversity Coordinator
P.O. Box 430
Memphis, Tennessee 38101-0430
Phone: (901) 528-4635
Fax: (901) 528-4374