WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The City of West to Palm Beach is inviting small business owners, especially minorities and women, learn more about its efforts to do business with them.
Small businesses that missed the free work- shop Frank Hayden, the City’s Director of Procurement, held a last month should contact his office to find out how businesses can get certified and about the new programs designed to encourage more engagement; as Hayden said he is actively reaching out to small business owners with his department’s new programs and goals.
The new programs include the Sheltered Market Program, bid equalization, the elimination of the Good Faith effort and new small business thresholds, all designed to create opportunities for business owners who want to pursue contracts with City. Hayden has set a goal to increase the number of small businesses certified by the City by five percent annually and to increase the number of dollars spent with certified businesses by five percent annually, as well.
“Our first goal is to grow the City’s data- base of qualified small businesses certified to work with West Palm Beach. We’ve streamlined the paperwork to make it simpler and less time-intensive,” Hayden said. “Once certified, business owners are strongly urged to attend one of our workshops or contact my department to learn how the Sheltered Market, bid equalization and small business thresholds work for them.”
For example, the Sheltered Market pro- gram is created for only certified small business enterprises (SBEs) to be able to bid on contract opportunities valued at $500,000 or less. The ‘shelter’ allows SBEs to compete against each other instead of larger enterprises.
Bid equalization enables certified SBEs to compete with non-certified SBEs. If a bid by a certified SBE is within 10 percent of a bid by a non-certified SBE, the City can make the award to the certified SBE, even though its bid could be up to 10 percent higher, Hayden said. The City has also eliminated the Good Faith Effort, which created a loophole for larger enterprises to avoid awarding a percentage of their subcontract work to SBEs.
To assist small business owners through the process of becoming certified, the City is working with Paragon (www.paragonfl.org), which provides hands-on help with completing required paperwork and education on how to properly submit a bid.
To learn more about procurement opportunities in the area of goods and services, construction and professional services, visit www.wpb.org/procurement or call 561-8222100.