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 Business Opportunity Program

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Business Opportunity Program?
The Business Opportunity Program is designed to promote diversity, inclusion, and local business opportunities. You can find the specific criteria to become a certified as a Minority, Women or Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) in the Sewer District's Business Opportunity Program application or you may call Tiffany Jordan at (216) 881-6600.
What are the benefits of the Business Opportunity Program?
The program provides benefits for both the District and the business community in our region. The District is implementing a Small Business and Minority/Women program to focus on procurement opportunities in the areas of goods, professional services, construction and engineering for small businesses located in the Metropolitan Statistical area.

The goal of the Business Opportunity Program is to increase contracting opportunities MWSBE companies, resulting in greater job availability and business growth for the local business community. In addition to contributing to the economic well-being of the region, bringing new MWSBEs into the pool of companies doing business with the District enhances the District's competitive bidding processes and ensures that District customers are afforded the greatest value for their monetary contributions.
Why would a business want to become a certified MWSBE?
Small businesses that complete the program application and are certified by the District for two years will have enhanced contracting opportunities. For purchases of goods and services under $50,000, the District will consult the MWSBE registry and reach out to those who are certified to provide needed services. Prime contractors and consultants will use the certification directory to identify subcontractors for District projects as they are required to meet project-specific goals for the use of certified MWSBEs as subcontractors or sub-consultants. Only those businesses that are certified under the District's MWSBE program will be counted towards fulfilling the District's MWSBE goals.
What is the difference between a MBE, a WBE, and a SBE?
MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise. A MBE is owned, operated, and controlled by one or more members of a minority race. Similarly, WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise, and is sometimes referred to as FBE or Female Business Enterprise. A WBE or FBE is owned, operated, and controlled by one or more members of the female gender or what Ohio law legally defines as a woman. A SBE is defined based upon economic criteria established by the District. It is a race- and gender-neutral designation.
How are District goals calculated?
MWSBE goals are calculated based on availability of firms certified in the program. The more firms to become certified the higher the goal.
How long does my MWSBE certification last?
All MWSBE certifications remain active for two years. All certified MWSBEs must complete a re-certification application before the anniversary date of the prior certification.
If I complete the MWSBE application, does this mean I will be certified with other agencies such as CMHA, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and RTA?
No. The MWSBE application for the District is for the District's program only. This application is not a part of any joint certification. However, if you are certified with other agencies, the MWSBE certification process at the District is easier. Please see our MWSBE application to find out how.
Does having a P.O. Box in the local area allow me to participate in the District's MWSBE program?
No. Your firm must be physically located in the District's Metropolitan Statistical Area which consists of Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Summit, Geauga, Medina, Portage, Trumbull (Warren), Mahoning (Youngstown), Stark (Canton-Massillon), and Jefferson (Ashtabula) Counties.
What is a Disparity Study?
A Disparity Study determines whether and to what extent that MBEs and WBEs are actively and passively subjected to discrimination in the District's contracting marketplace. The study involves a statistical analysis to determine if a legal basis exists to support the District's use of race and gender based goals in its contracting processes. You can download the complete study online.
What types of bidding opportunities are available at the District?
Under the MWSBE program, the District will provide opportunities to bid in all areas of procurement: goods, professional services, construction, and engineering.
How will I find out about upcoming bids?
You may visit the District's Bids & Proposals webpage to learn more about bidding opportunities with a value of $25,000 or more. When you see a bidding opportunity that you are interested in, please attend the pre-bid conference or stop by the District's Purchasing Department to view project plans and specifications.
What is a pre-bid conference?
The District holds a pre-bid conference for items and projects being advertised for bid. It provides the opportunity for prime contractors to ask questions about the bid specifications and to raise any concerns about the bid documents or project schedule. Most pre-bid conferences include representatives from the District and interested prime contractors. Subcontractors may attend these meetings, which provide subcontractors the opportunity to meet prime contractors who will need to meet MWSBE subcontracting goals.
What if I can not attend the pre-bid conference?
If you cannot attend the pre-bid conference, visit neorsd.org and take the following steps:
  1. Click on our Bids & Proposals link.
  2. Select the contract for the bid that interests you.
  3. Click on the Bidders List at the bottom of the page.
The Bidders List has contact information for individual firms that have already purchased plans. You may also call the Office of Contract Compliance at (216) 881-6600 and request a list of firms that attended the pre-bid conference, as well.
If a MWSBE and is awarded a contract with the District as a subcontractor or sub-consultant, who will monitor the use of the MWSBE on the project?
The Sewer District's Office of Contract Compliance (OCC) will monitor and report the use of all projects with MWSBE goals.
What if my SBE firm is currently working on a District project?
Certified SBEs currently working on District contracts will remain under the former SBE guidelines. However, you are encouraged to complete a new MWSBE application to be considered for the District's MWSBE program.