The St. Petersburg City Council has approved the new Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program. The MWBE Program aims to promote business and economic development for minority-owned business enterprises and women-owned business enterprises in the area.

“The City’s new Minority and Women Business Enterprise 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.”

The Program will be administered by the City’s Office of Supplier Diversity in the Procurement and Supplier Management Department. The MWBE Program will run for five years initially and may be extended.

The City of St. Petersburg awards millions of dollars in contracts each year. The new MWBE Program will create participation percentage requirements for contracts using minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises. Businesses will 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.

The City of St. Petersburg conducted a Disparity Study in 2021. The Study reviewed the City’s use of women-owned, minority-owned and non-minority male-owned businesses from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2018. It found disparities between the availability and utilization of certain woman-owned and minority-owned businesses for construction, professional services, and goods and services at the prime and subcontractor levels. The Disparity Study recommended that the City use 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 can apply for MWBE Program certification with the City. Interested parties can register with the Office of Supplier Diversity to receive alerts for program updates and application availability at Business owners can view all solicitation opportunities by subscribing to the City’s OpenGov portal at