SUBP, MBE, WBE, MNUCP, DBE… Confused? Don’t be

By Johnnie Burns, Assistant Director – Contract Compliance

The new special provisions really detail everything a contractor needs to know to meet the goal or make a good faith effort towards meeting the goal.

The new special provisions really details everything a contractor needs to know to meet the goal or make a good faith effort towards meeting the goal.

There seems to be a little confusion about the City of Minneapolis Small and Underutilized Business Program (SUBP) and the use of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and the Women Business Enterprise (WBE) firms to meet goals on City of Minneapolis contracts.  

I will try to make this as simple as possible. In order to meet MBE/WBE goals on City of Minneapolis projects you need to utilize the Mn/UCP directory. The Mn/UCP directory can be found at http://www.mnucp.org.  Now if you are like most people you clicked on the link only to discover that the firms certified by the Mn/UCP are considered DBE or Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. DBE firms are certified using federal regulations for United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) funded projects.

The SUBP program (City of Minneapolis) is driven by the City of Minneapolis Chapter 423 Code of Ordinances.  Under this ordinance, the City ensures that equal access and opportunities for inclusion are afforded MBE and WBE firms.  The City establishes goals on construction and other related projects and contractors must make a good faith effort to meet both the MBE and WBE contracting goals established. 

So how does a firm become a certified MBE/WBE firm under the City of Minneapolis SUBP program? Simple they must be certified by the Mn/UCP. The Mn/UCP certifies firms whose ownership, control and day to day operations are by individuals who are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Women and certain minority groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. The Mn/UCP labels these firms DBE. A firm that is certified by the Mn/UCP as DBE in turn meets the qualifications of the City of Minneapolis SUBP program. The only difference is that the Mn/UCP classifies the firms as DBE and the City of Minneapolis’ SUBP program classifies the firms as woman (WBE) or minority (MBE). These are the same businesses, with the same business owner, just identified differently in the city’s program. We are in the process of updating the MnUCP DBE directory to help the public more easily identify whether a firm is a Woman-owned DBE or Minority-owned DBE.  Although we don’t have an exact date on when this update will be completed, we do expect it will be before the end of this year.  This will be a very helpful tool as you search for qualified MBE or WBE firms to meet City of Minneapolis goals.

Taking it a step further in order to meet MBE/WBE goals on City of Minneapolis projects, a contractor must utilize the MN/UCP directory to find capable, available MBE/WBE’s located within the 11 county (Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright) metro area. The City of Minneapolis no longer accepts and/or recognizes the certifications from the CERT program to count towards SUBP goals. For many years the terms “MBE” and “WBE” were only associated with the CERT program; that is no longer the case, as the City of Minneapolis also has a program that utilizes the terms “MBE” and “WBE” .

Recap: The City of Minneapolis no longer accepts and/or recognizes the CERT program to meet project goals.

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