Open Doors_NR

13 Free Services & Benefits That Open Doors to Opportunities

Networking events, training, and targeted services provide minority and small businesses a competitive advantage

Often business success depends on who you know and not just what you know. Helping minority and small businesses connect with contracting opportunities is at the heart of Hillsborough County's Disadvantaged Minority/Disadvantaged Women (DM/DWBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Encouragement programs.

Hillsborough County's minority certification and small business registration services are provided at no cost to business owners. One-on-one and Spanish-language assistance with applications and documentation is available.

Program participants also gain these 13 services and benefits:

  1. A full range of no-cost business development resources and one-on-one consulting to help their business grow
  2. Numerous free outreach and networking events that connect program participants with bid-seeking organizations and prime contractors
  3. Access to the no-cost four-week Small Contractor Development Program that provides greater opportunities to participate in specific set-aside projects and access to surety bond assistance

  4. DM/DWBE Program Services

  5. DM/DWBE goals are established for construction projects valued at $200,000 or more
  6. DM/DWBE bonus point system is used for professional consultant selection
  7. Periodic seminars and workshops on how to do business with the County
  8. Online searchable directory of certified DM/DWBE firms and registered SBE firms

  9. SBE Program Benefits

  10. Capital construction projects valued at less than $500,000 may be set aside for bidding by registered SBE firms only
  11. Purchases of competitively bid commodities may be set aside for registered SBEs
  12. Purchases of competitively bid contractual services may be set aside for registered SBEs
  13. Miscellaneous professional consulting service projects may be set aside for competition among registered SBE consulting firms only
  14. 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)
  15. Periodic seminars and workshops on Hillsborough County procurement opportunities

The programs not only support supplier diversity and help strengthen the local economy through Hillsborough County procurement for construction, contractual services, professional consulting services, and a wide variety of commodities, but they can also open up private sector business opportunities. In fact, other regional and local government entities, and even private businesses, use the DM/DWBE & SBE directory to find County-vetted woman- and minority-owned, and small businesses to diversify their vendor dollars.

Get your business started through the Minority & Disadvantaged Business Development online portal or by contacting Theresa Kempa at or (813) 276-2729.


Photo Information: More than 200 people attended Hillsborough County's 5th Annual Open Doors Forum on April 5, 2018, which connected minority-owned and small businesses with government contracting leads and supporting businesses.


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