What is the MWBE Program?
The Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program supports the City’s desire to strengthen its policies related to minority and women-owned business participation in City procurement. A set of annual aspirational goals for MWBE participation in City contracts serves as the benchmark against which to measure the overall effectiveness of the MWBE Program in increasing MWBE participation in City procurement.
To work towards achieving these goals, contract-by-contract goals will be set for larger construction projects, and eventually expanded to include more industries. These goal-setting measures, combined with oversight of prime contractors and City activity, intend to help historically disadvantaged businesses participate in City procurement.
The approval of this program represents the culmination of a multi-year disparity study, conducted through an agreement with Griffin and Strong, P.C., which began in February 2020. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a statistically significant disparity exists between the percentage of available, qualified minority and women-owned companies that do business in the relevant market in which the City does business and the percentage of dollars spent with such firms by the City. To move from encouraging to requiring participation, this disparity study was necessary to meet legal requirements set forth by the courts.
How do I Become a Certified MWBE?
Certification is the qualifying process that ensures that a particular business is an MWBE, consistent with the factors and standards established by the Purchasing Department. Certification assures that interested MWBEs have the proper ownership, control, and management. The City of Frederick accepts certifications from other bona fide certifying agencies or organizations (called “reciprocal certification”) in the relevant geographic market, as described below.
Subject to the approval of the Purchasing Manager, the City may accept certification of a DBE or MWBE from another government or private entity. The City currently accepts certifications from Frederick County (MD), Maryland DOT, the District of Columbia, and certifying authorities from governmental entities within the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WVPA CSA. Specifically, the counties in the CSA are Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Harford County, Carroll County, Queen Anne's County, Washington County, Berkeley County, Morgan County, Franklin County, Frederick County (Virginia), City of Winchester, Hampshire County, St. Mary's County, and Talbot County.
We encourage MWBEs pursing certification to review the website of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Minority Business Enterprise, Maryland's official certification agency. MDOT conducts a free monthly workshop for firms interested in applying for certification as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and/or Small Business Enterprise (SBE). They also provide a number of resources to guide an MWBE through the certification process.
How Do I Find MWBE Vendors?
The Directory of Certified Firms, provided by MDOT, is a searchable list of certified MBE/DBE/ACDBE/SBE firms. You can search by state, county, commodity codes, or minority status.
An Overview and User Guide for the Directory of Certified Firms is also available to assist in your search.
How Do I Find Support for MWBE Businesses in Frederick?
Training and Educational Opportunities
The City holds educational sessions for businesses looking to learn more about doing business with the City and the procurement process.
Check out this recently recorded information session on our MWBE and SBR programs.
Check back for upcoming session information!
If you are a City of Frederick business seeking support in business growth, financial assistance, or workforce development, check out the resources available through the Department of Economic Development.
Chat with Us
Minority and women-owned businesses can call or email staff at the City of Frederick with questions about certification, contracting opportunities, registering as a vendor, or other concerns.