Phoenix is one of the fastest growing, multicultural cities in the country and has shown a historical commitment to business diversity. The city strives to advance the economic growth of local businesses through its Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program.
Through a coordinated effort among several city departments, the SBE Program provides SBE certification, procurement opportunities, construction subcontracting utilization, small business management and technical assistance and educational services and networking opportunities.
The Equal Opportunity Department offers certification services at no cost for small business owners interested in participating in the SBE program. Certification workshops are offered quarterly and staff is available to assist in the application process.
The Finance Department provides goods and general services procurement opportunities for certified small businesses. Small business owners may participate in the City's SBE Reserve Contract program, where selected goods and general services contracts are reserved for competition only among SBE firms.
Construction Subcontracting Utilization
The Street Transportation Department encourages the participation of small businesses on city-funded construction projects. SBE subcontracting utilization goals are established, where appropriate, on contracts of more than $50,000. Prime contractors are required to meet, or make good faith efforts to meet, SBE goals when bidding on City projects. Staff meets with interested SBE subcontractors, engineers or architects to explain the city's bid process and provides assistance in resolving SBE-related issues between general contractors and subcontractors.
For information on current bid opportunities on public works construction projects, go to phoenix.gov/streets/eassbe/index.html.
Small Business Management & Technical Assistance
The Community and Economic Development Department helps Phoenix businesses to create and retain jobs by providing business consulting services. These include general business planning, marketing, accounting, financing and loan packaging, organizational development, human resource management and information technology.
The city also provides workforce development services, tax incentives to businesses located in specific incentive areas, collateral assistance on commercial loans, business site selection and business retention and expansion services.
Educational Services and Networking Opportunities
The program offers educational and networking services to help SBE firms grow and connect to new business opportunities. These services include certification workshops, consultant and construction subcontracting networking events and links to other business services.
For more information and to access application materials, visit phoenix.gov/sbe or call the Small Business Resource Line at 602-534-CITY (2489) or 602-534-3476/TTY.
Studies were conducted in 1993 and 1999 to examine disparity between the city's use of minority, woman and small business enterprises (MWSBEs) and the availability of these firms in the local market.
In April 2005, MGT of America, Inc. completed a Minority, Woman and Small Business Enterprise Program Update Study. As a result of the findings, the City Council approved revised MWSBE services.
In May 2010, the Phoenix City Council voted to transition the city’s MWSBE program to a race- and gender-neutral SBE program to aid local small business owners of any race. The changes were effective July 1, 2010.