Chicago Tribune Column: Businesses owned by women and minorities have opportunity with $1.2 trillion in federal infrastructure investment

By FRANCINE KNOWLES

DAILY SOUTHTOWN

Cautiously hopeful but still concerned is how minority and women business advocates describe their perspectives on whether minority-owned and women-owned enterprises will equitably benefit from the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

They are taking steps to help best position such businesses in the south suburbs and throughout the Chicago area to successfully compete for the lucrative federal contract dollars that will be awarded through state agencies under the law.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said East Hazel Crest resident Angela Drexel, president of Black Contractors, Owners and Executives. The organization, which assists Black-owned businesses through education, mentoring and advocacy, has roughly 75 members in the Chicago metropolitan area including the south suburbs.

“I feel that we will get as much access, as much opportunity as we demand, and it’s something that we have to hold them accountable for doing,” said Drexel, who also is vice president of Calumet Park-based LiveWire Construction.

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