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Source : Contractor News
October 24, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
The City of St. Petersburg is taking several initiatives to create equitable contracting opportunities for state and federal-funded construction projects. The City Council on October 5th approved the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program.
The City offers contracts for services, supplies, and construction projects worth millions of dollars every year. This newly launched MWBE program will allow for registration for the MWBE program directory, creating opportunities to bid for projects.
As Contractor News reported earlier, the City of St. Pete had launched a Disparity Study that studied the period between 2014-2018 and confirmed a difference between the contracting opportunities of prime and sub-contactor awards.
This study led to the Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) launch under the City's Procurement and Supplier Management Department. It will oversee the administration's efforts to encourage the participation of MWBEs and create a diverse and thriving business community.
St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch said, "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. 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."
The OSD also manages the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program, which promotes economic growth by providing possibilities for participation in City construction projects and the purchase of goods and services.
The SBE Program allows small businesses to gain exposure to big-ticket projects and experience working alongside larger corporations. The three-year certification is free with sufficient training, spans a five-county area, and is gender and race-neutral.
In the first phase, the MWBE program will run for 5 years, with provisions for future extensions. A business is called an MWBE if a minority or woman owns and controls at least 51% of the company. The number of MWBEs bidding for and receiving city contracts will be used to assess program success.