Staff Report

WEST PALM BEACH – The City of West Palm Beach is inviting small business owners, including minorities and women, to learn more about how they could potentially benefit from the city’s recent 1 percent sales tax increase.

Frank Hayden, the city’s director of procurement, is hosting a free workshop, 10 a.m. – noon on Jan. 17, at the South Olive Community Center, 345 Summa St., to share streamlined businesses certification processes, and explain updated programs designed to encourage more engagement among small-, minority-owned and female-owned businesses.

Hayden also will share how upcoming projects, stimulated by the sales tax increase, could present tangible opportunities for businesses of all sizes to bid on contracts.

The new programs within the Procurement Department have been designed to increase the number of small business, women- owned businesses and minority-owned businesses certified to bid on new contracts and to increase the amount of contract work awarded to these businesses. The results of a recent Disparity Study have increased the need for greater inclusion among these businesses on certain types of work available from the city.

Programs introduced to help small business enterprises be more competitive in the bid process include the Sheltered Market Program, bid equalization, the elimination of the Good Faith effort and new small business thresholds. Hayden has set a goal to increase the number of small businesses certified by the city by 5 percent annually, as well as to increase the number of dollars spent with certified businesses by 5 percent annually.

“Our first goal is to grow the city’s database of qualified small businesses certified to work with West Palm Beach with an emphasis on engaging more women-owned, minority-owned and small- business enterprises. 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 program 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.

To assist small business owners through the process of becoming certified, the city is working with the Paragon company, ( Paragon, whose CEO is Pamela Stewart, provides hands-on help with completing required paperwork, as well as education on how to properly submit a bid.

To learn more about city procurement opportunities for all suppliers, visit or call 561-822-2100.