West Palm Beach Examines M/WBE Participation

City officials are looking to expand contracts with minority and women owned firms.

Source : Contractor News

June 10, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

After a four-year study period in 2019, the authorities of the West Palm Beach City Commission were presented with data that showed that minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBE) did not have equal opportunities to city contracts. 

In 2020, the first full year after the completion of the study, M/WBEs received less than half percent of the contract funding. In 2023, that amount went up to 2.2%, or more than $1.5 million in contacts.

To further improve M/WBEs' participation and address any other challenges that these businesses might be facing in accessing and obtaining contacts, the City Commission has unanimously approved spending $300,000 on a study to determine whether the City's women—and minority-owned business assistance program is needed.

M/WBE owners have explained that the assistance programs help them access government contracts. 

One of the most common issues faced by these businesses is the lack of financial backing and networking, which either makes them lose the bid or in worse cases, prevents them from even applying in the first place. 

Under the West Palm Beach code, the M/WBE assistance program is to be reviewed every 5-7 years. Frank Hayden, director of the Office of Small and Minority/Women Business Programs told the City Commission that the City has taken the following steps to ensure M/WBEs have better access to city contracts. This includes:

  • Free marketing consultation
  • Bond assistance and startup grants
  • Technical assistance
  • COVID-19 recovery loan program
  • Published Doing Business with the City guidebook

Contractor News will keep you posted on how the West Palm Beach Commission utilizes the approved money to further improve the accessibility and participation of M/WBE.

Category : Minority Business Enterprises Minority Women Business Enterprises Women Business Enterprises Disparity Studies Diversity Outreach Local Government

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