Program Approved to Provide More Opportunities to Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses
St. Petersburg City Council Approves Program to Provide More Opportunities to Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses
Oct. 5, 2023 - St. Petersburg City Council has approved the adoption of the new Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program at a Public Hearing held at City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 5. The MWBE Program aims to promote business and economic development for minority-owned business enterprises and women-owned business enterprises in the St. Pete area and will be administered by the City of St. Petersburg’s Office of Supplier Diversity, which is within the City’s Procurement and Supplier Management Department. The MWBE Program will run for five years initially and may be extended.
"The City's new Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program will help businesses that are seeking more ways to prosper and thrive in a competitive business market," said St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. "With Equitable Business Opportunities as one of my administration's Pillars for Progress, our goal is to remove barriers and provide a level playing field so all businesses have a chance at success.”
How the Program Will Help
The City of St. Petersburg awards millions of dollars in contracts each year for services, supplies, and construction, which results in the creation of a wide variety of opportunities. The new MWBE Program will create participation percentage requirements for contracts utilizing minority-owned business enterprises and women-owned business enterprises, providing more opportunities for St. Pete’s diverse business community. Soon, businesses will be invited to apply to register for the City’s MWBE Program directory to be eligible to bid for contracts from the City.
A Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) is defined as a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned by a minority or minorities with management and daily operations controlled by a minority of minorities. A Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is defined as a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned by a woman or women with management and daily operations controlled by a woman or women.
The business must:
Be responsible for the execution of a distinct element of a contract;
Carry out that responsibility by actually performing, managing, and supervising the work involved;
Possess the skills, qualifications, or expertise necessary to perform, manage, and supervise the work.
How We Got Here
The City of St. Petersburg conducted a Disparity Study in 2021 with the goal of serving as the factual underpinning for the creation of equitable opportunities for all members of St. Pete’s contracting community. The Disparity Study reviewed the City’s utilization of women-owned, minority-owned, and non-minority male-owned businesses during the period from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2018, and found disparities between the availability and utilization of certain woman-owned and minority-owned businesses for construction, professional services, and goods and services at both the prime and subcontractor levels. The Disparity Study recommended that the City utilize both race- and gender-neutral and race- and gender-conscious based programs to reduce the documented disparities.
In the coming months, women-owned and minority-owned businesses will be able to apply for MWBE Program certification with the City of St. Petersburg. Interested parties are encouraged to register with the Office of Supplier Diversity to receive alerts for program updates and application availability at stpete.org/OSD.