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Savannah replaces MWBE initiative with DBE, small business program
Published on 03/08/2018

The City of Savannah ended its Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, which certified businesses bidding on city contracts in Savannah as MWBEs in order to provide those businesses with certain benefits in the procurement process, on December 31, 2017.

The program has been replaced with a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program and with contracting goals for businesses that have been certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) at either the state or federal level.

The SBE program, run through the city's Savannah Business Opportunity Program, certifies businesses as such if they have fewer than 25 employees and have limited revenue. The SBE program currently has certified five businesses, with another eight in the midst of the certification process. However, the City wishes to expand that number to at least 100 businesses, given that at the time of its shutdown, the MWBE program maintained a list of 115 businesses with active certifications.

Once a business is certified as an SBE, it is eligible to participate in a limited bid process for contracts under $100,000, by which the bidding is limited to SBEs (provided there at least 3 SBEs that can do the work) for an initial round.

The city has also established an 18 percent annual participation goal for DBEs for its contracts above $100,00. A proposal is also under consideration in the Savannah City Council to allow SBEs and DBEs, if they are local, to match non-local bids if their pricing is within 10 percent of the low bid. Currently, the threshold in place is 2 percent.

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