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City of St. Petersburg Advances Equitable Business Opportunities for Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses

Mayor Kenneth T. Welch, along with City staff, encourages all eligible businesses to apply for certification


January 8, 2024 - The City of St. Petersburg's Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program is now accepting online applications from eligible local businesses. All applications will be reviewed and processed by the City’s Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) with the goal of increasing the number of certified businesses that are minority-owned and women-owned.


“The City of St. Pete is a champion of intentional equity and inclusive progress for small, local businesses in our communities,” said St. Pete Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. “Creating opportunities for local businesses helps to ensure fair and equal business practices in our procurement and supply management processes. Ultimately, we all win with a wider pool of suppliers, increased business competition, and higher quality products and services for all St. Pete residents.”


The new MWBE Program, which City Council adopted in late 2023, is designed to empower small businesses by offering comprehensive support, strategic resources, and a clear pathway to growing and developing their businesses. The City of St. Pete 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 MWBE Program will create participation percentage targets  for certain city contracts utilizing minority-owned business enterprises and women-owned business enterprises. 


"The Office of Supplier Diversity is proud to embark on this exciting journey as we officially launch our MWBE program,” said OSD Manager Kourey L. Hendryx-Bell. “This is a commitment to cultivate a thriving marketplace that mirrors the diversity we see across St. Pete. We look forward to building a more vibrant and inclusive business landscape as we start to work with many of the existing businesses in our area.”


Eligibility

A Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) is a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned, managed, and operated by a minority group or members. A Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned, managed, and operated by a woman or group of women. The business must:

  1. Be domiciled in Pinellas County.

  2. Be responsible for the execution of a distinct element of a contract.

  3. Carry out that responsibility by actually performing, managing, and supervising the work involved.

  4. Possess the skills, qualifications, or expertise necessary to perform, manage, and supervise the work.


How to Apply

Eligible businesses are encouraged to apply for MWBE Program certification at www.stpete.org/MWBE.  


Key Features of the MWBE Program

  • Business Development Resources: Offering mentorship, training, and workshops to enhance the skills and capabilities of MWBEs, which helps foster sustainable growth and competitiveness.

  • Networking Opportunities: Facilitating connections between MWBEs, established businesses, and government agencies to promote collaboration and partnerships.

  • Contracting Opportunities: Actively working to increase the procurement of goods and services from MWBEs and ensuring a fair and level playing field in the business sector. Business owners can view current contracting opportunities with the City of St. Pete at www.stpete.org/procurement


How We Got Here

The City of St. Pete conducted a Disparity Study in 2021 with the goal of serving as the factual and legal 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 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.


About the Office of Supplier Diversity

The City of St. Pete’s Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) was created to promote fair and equal business opportunities through the intentional implementation of diversity programs to ensure equity in contracts and procurement for all members of our community who want to do business with the City of St. Pete. The OSD was created in response to the Disparity Study and also operates the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program, which fosters economic growth and provides opportunities for participation in city construction projects and the procurement of goods and services. The SBE Program gives smaller businesses a chance to gain exposure to large-scale projects and experience working alongside big firms. The 3-year certification is free with required training, covers a 5-county area, and is race and gender-neutral. More about the OSD can be found at www.stpete.org/OSD.




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