Berkeley, CA – Late on January 24, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to pass the “Berkeley Inclusion in Opportunity Index.” This initiative, colloquially called the “BINDEX,” is a tool to help local businesses and non-profits gain equal access to Berkeley’s $390 million budget. BINDEX is the first Council Item authored by newly elected Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett.

The City of Berkeley contracts with numerous external organizations for goods and services including construction, architecture, engineering, and professional services. BINDEX mandates that the City conduct a study to analyze the extent to which it contracts with local, small, emerging enterprises with barriers to access.

Councilmember Bartlett expects that the BINDEX study will reveal deep inequities in the City's practices of awarding contracts. Once these inequities are brought to light, the City can overhaul its process for selecting contractors in order to ensure that its spending is inclusive of the local community.

Councilmember Bartlett commented, “Given the new administration in Washington, there is concern about the direction our economy. State and City governments throughout the Country have a responsibility to make sure they are good stewards of budgets, and ensure that spending is diversified and reflects community values. Many small businesses struggle just to keep their doors open. Let's expand the circle of prosperity. All doors open."

Berkeley joins numerous other Bay Area municipalities and counties that have initiated programs to partner with small, local, and emerging businesses including Alameda County, the City of Oakland, and the City and County of San Francisco.