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St. Pete to consider boosting LGBTQ small business contracts

“The city is committed to providing all business owners with equal opportunities to compete and succeed.”

The city of St. Petersburg is taking steps to increase the number of LGBTQ-owned businesses it contracts with.

Next week St. Pete City Council will consider an ordinance enhancing business partnerships with majority-owned or -operated LGBTQ businesses.

“The city of St. Petersburg is committed to providing all business owners, including historically underrepresented business owners, with equal opportunities to compete and succeed, and is committed to increasing the number and diversity of supplier options,” the ordinance reads.

The measure, scheduled for City Council’s June 6 meeting, would require city staff to monitor usage of LGBTQ-owned businesses in its procurement process for goods and services.

The city already has anti-discriminatory policies and ordinances protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment and through its procurement process, but the latest equality measure seeks to further that by affording additional opportunities to win contracts for city work.

The city contracts with businesses for work ranging from construction to catering.

In addition to monitoring usage of LGBTQ-owned or operated businesses, the city would also recognize those businesses similarly to those owned or operated by women or minorities.

The ordinance stops short of requiring LGBTQ business inclusion in city projects. However, such requirements are typically included individually through the ‘request for proposal’ or ‘request for qualification’ process.

In its proposed ordinance, the city would also provide LGBTQ-owned small businesses “with training programs and services to ensure businesses are familiar with how to do business with the city and are informed about procurement opportunities.

The ordinance takes effect upon its approval.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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