Rawlings-Blake creates minority business advisory council

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has created an advisory council to help improve the city's minority and women-owned business enterprise program, the mayor's office announced Wednesday.

The 25-member Mayor's Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises will be headed by Robert L. Wallace, author and CEO of Bithgroup Technologies. Maria Welch Martinez, CEO of Respira Medical, will serve as vice-chair. Other members include local businesspeople and representatives from the City Council and state legislature.

"The issues that small, minority, and women-owned businesses face are increasing in a challenging business environment," Wallace said in a statement.

The business enterprise program sets goals for awarding city contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses. The advisory council plans to submit recommendations to the mayor by Jan. 15.