Department of Civil Rights

Velma J. Korbel, Director

350 S. 5th St., Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: (612) 673-3012
Fax: (612) 673-2599
TTY: (612) 673-2157

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Small Underutilized Business Program (SUBP)

The Small and Underutilized Business Program (SUBP) ordinance, Chapter 423 of the City code is enforced by the Contract Compliance Division (CCD) of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. The SUBP ordinance is intended to redress discrimination in the City’s Marketplace* and create opportunities for Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBEs). The CCD assists in leveling the playing field in contracting by placing participation goals on City contracts. As part of the SUBP program, Bidders have certain responsibilities in regards to inclusion of qualified MBEs/WBEs.  

SUBP bidding changes

Please see updated bid documents that provide instructions for the SUBP bidding changes. These bidding changes will take effect on December 1, 2018. These forms and instructions can be found in the City's bid specifications and on our website. If you have questions or comments about the new bidding changes please contact us at [email protected].


SUBP goals are set per contract based on project scope, subcontracting opportunities, and availability of qualified MBEs/WBEs. The goals are set before the project is published and are indicated in the call for bids or request for proposal documents. Goals are set on construction/development, professional/technical services, and goods/commodities/supplies contracts in excess of $175,000. 

Qualification of MBEs/WBEs

To count towards the SUBP goals, the MBE/WBE must meet the following criteria:

  1. The business must be certified under the Minnesota Unified Certification Program (MnUCP) at the time the contract is executed with the City. The availability of qualified businesses can be found in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise directory:

    *If a business is not yet certified, but may qualify for certification as MBE/WBE, visit MnUCP  to learn more about the certification process.
  2. The MBE/WBE must be located within the city’s marketplace which encompasses the following 16 Counties:  Minnesota Counties of; Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Le Sueur, Mille Lacs, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Washington, Wright and the Wisconsin Counties of; Pierce and St. Croix.
  3. The MBE/WBE must be certified within the scope of work in which they will be performing.  This can be determined by reviewing the NAISC Code(s) (North American Classification System) under which they are certified. Please visit for more information.
  4. The MBE/WBE must perform a commercially useful function and therefore must be responsible for carrying out its responsibilities by actually performing, managing, and supervising the work involved. It must perform or exercise responsibility for at least 30 percent of its contract with its own workforce or can subcontract out work based on normal industry practices.

The MBE/WBE does not perform a commercially useful function if its role is limited to that of an extra participant in a transaction, contract or project through which funds are passed to obtain the appearance of MBE/WBE participation. The presumption of not performing a commercially useful function is rebuttable by the MBE/WBE.

Good Faith Efforts to Meet the SUBP Goals

Per the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Chapter 423.90(g), if a bidder or proposer has not fully met the SUBP project goals, then it shall demonstrate that it made a good faith effort to comply with the SUBP requirements. CCD will conduct a review to determine if the bidder or proposer solicited MBEs/WBEs in good faith.

The review may consider the following list of actions: 

  1. Soliciting through all reasonable and available means (attendance at pre-bid meetings, advertising and/or written notices) the interest of all eligible MBEs/WBEs certified in the scopes of work of the contract. The bidder must solicit MBEs/WBEs in sufficient time prior to bid opening to allow MBEs/WBEs time to respond to solicitations. The bidder must determine with reasonable certainty if the MBEs/WBEs are interested by taking appropriate steps to follow up on initial solicitations.
  2. Selecting portions of the work to be performed by eligible MBEs/WBEs in order to increase the likelihood that the SUBP goals will be achieved. This includes, where appropriate, breaking out contract work into smaller units to facilitate MBE/WBE participation, even when a bidder might otherwise prefer to perform these work items with its own forces.
  3. Providing interested eligible MBEs/WBEs with adequate information about the plans, specifications, and requirements of the contract in a timely manner to assist them in responding to a solicitation.
  4. The bidder must negotiate in good faith with interested eligible MBEs/WBEs and provide written documentation of such negotiation with each such business.
  5. A bidder should consider a number of factors in negotiating with potential MBE/WBE subcontractors, and should take into consideration an eligible MBE or WBE's price and capabilities and scheduling  as well as established contract goals. However, the fact that there may be some additional costs involved in finding and using eligible MBE's/WBE's is not in itself sufficient reason for a bidder's failure to meet the established MBE/WBE goals, as long as such costs are reasonable. The ability or desire to perform the work of a contract with its own organization does not relieve the bidder of the responsibility to make good faith efforts. Bidders are not, however, required to accept higher quotes from eligible MBE's/WBE's if the price difference is excessive or unreasonable.
  6. The bidder or proposer must offer information regarding, and make reasonable efforts to assist, solicited eligible MBEs/WBEs in obtaining bonding, lines of credit or insurance as required by the city or by the bidder or proposer; provided that the bidder or proposer need not provide financial assistance toward this effort.
  7. Effectively using the services of minority/women community organizations; minority/women contractor's groups; local, state and federal business assistance offices; and other organizations as allowed on a case-by-case basis to provide assistance in the solicitation and placement of MBEs/WBEs.
  8. Whether the apparent successful bidder met or exceeded the average eligible MBE/WBE participation obtained by other bidders responding to the same City bid. 

Bidder or proposer must thoroughly document their efforts to solicit to and include MBE/WBE participation. CCD will monitor MBE/WBE participation throughout the contract. Compliance with the MBE/WBE participation and other SUBP requirements will be a material condition of the contract and failure to comply may be deemed a breach of contract.

Please review Minneapolis Code of Ordinances Chapter 423 for more information or contact the Division at [email protected].

Last updated Jan 8, 2019



Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-263-6850.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

Civil Rights  ©1997-2020 City of Minneapolis, MN


311 call center

311 TTY relay service

City of Minneapolis Facebook City of Minneapolis Twitter City of Minneapolis YouTube ChaNNEL Minneapolis 311 Watch Minneapolis City Council TV City of Minneapolis LinkedIn

Minneapolis, City of Lakes logo