New program expands contracting opportunities for small businesses

The City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges have approved a new Target Market Program that will increase opportunities for small businesses to compete for contracts with the City of Minneapolis.

Qualified small businesses will have the ability to bid alongside other small businesses for City contracts up to $100,000 instead of competing against larger companies. The program will launch Jan. 1, 2017.

To qualify for the Target Market Program, businesses must be independently owned and controlled, within the 13-county metro area and not exceed the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards. The average annual gross receipts of the business for the previous three fiscal years must also not exceed the limit for its industry category. The program is race and gender neutral.

The development of the program follows significant outreach work by the City’s Supplier Diversity Team to gather feedback from the small business community. Staff surveyed more than 1,600 businesses, held a focus group and attended vendor fairs to gather insights about how to increase awareness about contracting opportunities.

Of businesses surveyed, 45 percent had never done business with the City. Seventy-four percent of businesses said they were likely to participate in the new Target Market Program. The vast majority were businesses with gross receipts under $1 million and fewer than 20 employees.

The Target Market Program is part of a larger effort to diversify the City’s supplier base.

Published Sep 23, 2016