Business Resources

City of Tampa Women/Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) Program

The WMBE Program was established in 1991 to provide women and minority businesses equal contract opportunities in construction, professional services, and goods and non-professional services. On a continuous basis the MBD Office conducts outreach efforts to identify and register women and minority businesses interested in supplying goods and services to the City.

The City of Tampa's WMBE Executive Order 98-2

By executive order the City of Tampa's WMBE Program states that minority and women owned businesses shall have maximum feasible opportunity to participate in the performance of City Contracts. The established participation goals are: 25.0% participation for construction contracts, 14.0% for professional services, and 4.0% for goods and non-professional services.

Who Benefits from the services?

The program's emphasis is towards women, black, and Hispanic businesses. A bona fide women or minority business is one which is owned and controlled by at least fifty-one percent (51%) women or minority group members. Women or minority members are Caucasian women of European descent, blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities for federally funded projects only.

How can I participate in the WMBE Program?

The first step is to fill out an application form for certification. This form is available on the City of Tampa's website at, or it can be mailed to you, or can be picked up at the MBD Office at 306 E. Jackson St. 7th Floor East.

What is the Purchasing Department's procurement Policy?

The policy of the City's Purchasing Department is that procurement practices are non-discriminatory and to promote equality of opportunity. The WMBE Program Office monitors all departments regarding the percentage of participation for women, black, and Hispanic.

How are purchases made?

Firms interested in doing business with the City of Tampa are encouraged to complete a vendor application form. Blank forms can be obtained either from the MBD Office or the Purchasing Department located on the second floor of the City Hall Annex, 306 E. Jackson St. downtown Tampa, (813) 274-8351.

What is the role of the City of Tampa?

The City has a fundamental responsibility to provide opportunities for certified women and minority businesses. This allows them to effectively participate in the bidding process for all City procurement. When this responsibility is met, women and minority businesses contribute to the "Economic Development" of the community. To contact the Minority Business Development Office please call (813) 274-5522.

Address: 306 E. Jackson St. 7th Fl. 33602


Other organizations Business Loan Programs and Assistance

The City of Tampa has several business assistance programs for the public.

Tampa Bay Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), is a private, not-for-profit corporation committed to supporting economic development and job creation in Hillsborough County. TEDCO participates at the federal level with the Small Businesses Administration's 504 Commercial Loan program, administers four city-funded revitalization programs, a city-funded loan guarantee program, and a private loan program funded by six local banks. TEDCO also provides architectural assistance through a façade improvement program. For more information, please contact TEDCO.

Tampa Black Business Investment Corporation (TBBIC) also provides loan financing and technical assistance to minorities. For more information, please contact TBBIC. Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF) also provides technical assistance to Hispanics who are interested in starting a business. For more information, please contact HBIF at 813-980-2765.

Hillsborough County DM / DWBE and SBE Programs Overview of Program Services and Eligibility Standards Purpose

The purpose of the Hillsborough County Disadvantaged Minority / Disadvantaged Women Business Enterprise (DM / DWBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Encouragement Program is to provide full opportunity for minority / women owned and small businesses to participate in the County's procurement programs which include construction, contractual services, professional consulting services, and commodities.

DM / DWBE Program Services

  • In construction, project by project DM / DWBE goals are established for each project valued at $200,000.00 or more.
  • Professional Consultant Selection; a DM / DWBE Bonus Point system is used
  • DM / DWBE Directory Service.
  • Periodic Seminars and Workshops on how to do business with the County and other topics.

DM / DWBE Eligibility

Firms interested in participating must meet the following minimum standards:

  • The business must be principally domiciled in the State of Florida and serve a commercially useful function.
  • The business must be at least 51% owned by eligible minorities or women.
  • The eligible minorities or women must control the management and daily operations.
  • The applicant shall demonstrate that the net worth of the business does not exceed $2,000,000.00 and employ not more that 50 persons averaged over a two year period.
  • Reciprocity shall be granted to DM / DWBE firms that are principally domiciled in the State of Florida and certified by many local jurisdictions situated throughout the State. Reciprocity shall be for one six (6) month period for those firms who are certified by other jurisdictions and seek to participate on a Hillsborough County project. Certification beyond the initial six (6) month period may be granted upon satisfactory review of the firm's certification application.

Eligible Minority Groups

Eligible minority group members are individuals who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US and who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian. Women are considered as minority group members for the purpose of this program.

  • AFRICAN AMERICAN - A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • HISPANIC - A person of Spanish or Portuguese culture with origins in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, South America, Central America, or the Caribbean Islands, regardless of race.
  • ASIAN - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands.
  • AMERICAN INDIAN - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America.

SBE Program Benefits

  • Capital Construction projects valued at less than $500,000 may be set aside for bidding by registered SBE firms only.
  • Purchases of competitively bid commodities may be set-aside for registered SBE's. Set-asides shall be economically feasible contracts or portions of contracts.
  • Purchases of competitively bid contractual services may be set-aside for registered SBE's. Set-asides shall be economically feasible contracts or portions of contracts.
  • Professional consulting services miscellaneous projects may be set-aside for competition among registered SBE consulting firms only.
  • When a registered SBE firm is awarded a county project as a PRIME CONTRACTOR, the County may permit the issuance of joint checks for the SBE and his / her primary material supplier(s).
  • Periodic seminars and workshops will be conducted regarding procurement opportunities offered by Hillsborough County as well as business education.

SBE Minimum Eligibility Standards

Firms interested in participating must meet the following minimum standards:

  • A firm's annual gross sales in the previous three-year period cannot exceed $3,000,000;
  • Each business applying for registration as an SBE must be an independently owned and operated business which employs twenty-five (25) or fewer permanent full-time employees.
  • The business must be principally domiciled in Hillsborough County, Florida.
  • The business must have been established for a period of one year prior to application, and the business must serve a commercially useful function.
  • Franchises, subsidiaries and affiliates shall not be eligible for this program.

Eligibility Determination

  • After the completed application has been received, reviewed and evaluated, an on-site visit may be scheduled.
  • Denials of certification may be appealed to the Administrative Certification Review Panel.
  • Denials of registration may be appealed to the Administrative Certification Review Panel.

How to Apply

All applications are submitted and accepted online.

For assistance with certification contact Rita Sauri. Telephone: (813) 307-8309

A Minority and Small Business Directory is available online.

Additional Contact:

Theresa Kempa, MCA, MBE / SBE Manager Telephone: (813) 276-2729


The Tampa Bay Chamber and staff are participating in a four-part diversity and inclusion training with Inclusivity, LLC. Presentation summaries follow:

Resources provided by Tampa Bay Rays

Resources provided by Tampa Bay Lightning


The Safeword Society – The SafeWordSociety Podcast launched in 2017 by QTPOC+ visibility company, SafeWordSociety is heralded for archiving the authentic narratives of QTPOC+ as a social justice initiative for public broadcasting and social networks. The hosts, Kristen McCallum and Lamika Young, use interviews & discussions with thought leaders, influencers, and community members to navigate the authenticity of their identity. Their mission is to create a safe space for versatility and self-definition while uplifting the stories of those that are too often muted.

This QPOC Life – From the brain behind Edugaytion, This QPOC Life is a podcast that talks about life through the lens of queer & trans people of color. Join Johnathan, Carlos, Jo, and Zach (and friends!) as they discuss how they navigate queerness as people of color. Sometimes serious, sometimes petty, sometimes downright foolish, but always honest.

Code Switch – What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports, and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we are all part of the story.

Still Processing – Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are working it out.

Ear Hustle – Ear Hustle brings you the daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.

The United States of Anxiety – A show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future.

The Nod – Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings gleefully explore all the beautiful, complicated dimensions of Black life.

Brene’ Brown with Ibram X. Kendi – Listen to Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist from Unlocking Us with Brené Brown on Apple Podcasts.

Resources provided by Tampa General Hospital


Reconstruction: America After the Civil War – This series explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change. The 12 years that composed the post-war Reconstruction era witnessed a seismic shift in the meaning and make up of our democracy, with millions of former slaves and free black people seeking out their rightful place as equal citizens under the law.

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross – This series chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent right up to today when America remains a nation deeply divided by race.

Slavery by Another Name – This 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery by Another Name gives voice to the largely forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor and features their descendants living today.

United Shades of America – Explores race in American and the challenges that communities face.


Looking for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement for your Employee Handbook? Feel free to customize and use some of the templates below!

We must commit to doing our part, as individuals and as an organization, to build a more racially just and equitable community.

As an organization…

We will take time to learn and understand the depth and breadth of social injustice and racial inequality in our community. We will dig deeply within ourselves to discover how we can do better and be better.

We will listen with a caring heart and an open mind to those whose life experiences will help guide our work and the decisions we make going forward.

We will offer comfort and compassion to those who are struggling to make sense of something that makes no sense.

We will be genuine and authentic in the statements we make and the actions we take in respect to our intolerance for racial inequality and social injustice.

We will be intentional in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a critical core value.

We recognize the strength that comes with a variety of perspectives and beliefs, and an environment that encourages respect and trust. Our goal is to purposefully include diverse perspectives to achieve superior business results and fulfill our mission.

Just as diversifying a financial portfolio makes it stronger, promoting a corporate culture of diversity and inclusion makes our organization stronger and helps us provide exceptional member service and innovative solutions for our members and their families. Diversity and inclusion are essential components of our business strategy for competitive advantage, continued business growth and improved performance.

Diversity is not just about race and gender; it is defined broadly as the collective strength of unique characteristics, experiences, skills, backgrounds, perspectives and cultures. Inclusion is the standard of behavior necessary to foster an environment that unlocks creativity and diversity of thought so that employees can be as successful as possible.

Our organization is committed to creating an inclusive culture that encourages the exchange of unique perspectives within the workplace and beyond, to benefit our clients and our community, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, faith, and ability.

Diversity is the Key to Unlocking Tampa Bay’s Full Potential

We are committed to the philosophy that the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the greater region itself, cannot reach its full potential until all entrepreneurs and their startups are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We are fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our organization and its programs and services.

We fundamentally value and respect experiences that are different from our own and will foster an environment that will tolerate nothing less from all.

We will embrace all who dare to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and recognize that not all founders come from the same starting point.

We will be intentional in the programs and services we offer so that we can address the barriers that many founders face when launching and growing their companies in Tampa Bay.

We will encourage all startups to build diversity into their companies’ teams and boards from the beginning to increase their likelihood of success.

We will be a champion with visible leadership for the startups with diversity so we can educate the community about the value of these companies.

We will commit to leading by example by building an organization with a diverse team of staff, board members, and volunteers.


We will conduct periodic internal diversity assessments to help the organization leadership identify priorities, recognize strategic opportunities, and enhance diversity performance. These periodic assessments will include staff and board recruiting practices and composition, marketing and PR efforts, client company recruiting and vetting practices, community partnerships, and vendor and contracting practices.

We will seek out leadership opportunities on this topic in the community via speaking engagements, digital content creation and distribution, and other marketing and communication efforts.

We will regularly seek input from our diverse founders and our community partners about our programs and services so we can continue to make progress for all.