Florida Construction News staff writer
St. Petersburg city council has approved a new Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) program to be administered by the office of supplier diversity. The MWBE Program will run for five years initially and may be extended.
“The 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. “Our goal is to remove barriers and provide a level playing field so all businesses have a chance at success.”
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.
An MBE is defined as a for-profit business that is at least 51 percent 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 percent owned by a woman or women with management and daily operations controlled by a woman or women.
To qualify a 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
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.
It reviewed utilization of women-owned, minority-owned, and non-minority male-owned businesses from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 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 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.