Can a business certified in Baltimore City as a minority business enterprise (MBE) and a women’s business enterprise (WBE) be counted as both for purposes of participation goals on a Baltimore City contract?

No.  While businesses in Baltimore City may be certified as an MBE and as a WBE, such business may be counted towards either the MBE participation goal or the WBE participation goal established for a specific contract with Baltimore City.  Participation

goals cannot be divided or split between the goals established for MBEs and those established for WBEs.

MBE and WBE participation goals are established on a contract by contract basis by Baltimore City’s Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO).  In setting participation goals, MWBOO considers several factors, including the availability of MBEs and WBEs in a given industry qualified and willing to provide goods, services and expertise on the contract; the specifications of the contract; the level of utilization of available qualified and willing MBEs and WBEs in past contracts awarded by Baltimore City; and the potential adverse impact of establishing participation goals on non-MBEs and non-WBEs.  MWBOO must also consult with the specific contracting agency in Baltimore City and/or the City Purchasing Agent when establishing the MBE and WBE participation goals for a particular contract.

Certification of a business can be a viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships. Businesses seeking certification as an MBE and/or WBE in Baltimore City may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for certification prior to applying for certification.    

By:  James R. Benjamin, Jr., Esq.