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Small Business Development

Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program

The City of Milwaukee's Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is designed to enhance the emerging small business community by maximizing support services, contract opportunities, and financial resources to the small business community. All businesses seeking certification as a City of Milwaukee Small Business Enterprise are required to complete an application. 

Certification Overview

All businesses seeking certification as a City of Milwaukee Small Business Enterprise are required to complete one of the applications below.  

·  SBE New Certification: Small business seeking SBE with the City of Milwaukee
·  SBE Renewal Certification: Certified SBE firms whose certification is expiring within the next 90 days.
·  SBE Addendum Certification: Certified SBE firms who have expanded their business and wish to become certified for new products or services.

Thoroughly completed applications containing all required supporting documentation will be processed by date of receipt and on a first-in, first out basis.  Application review and processing times may be completed within 90 days, however timeframes may vary depending on the number of applications in queue and/or if applications are submitted without required information.  

For a complete overview of our process, please review our certification procedures here: Small Business Enterprise Certification Procedures  or contact our office at 414-286-5553 or [email protected]

If you need instructions on how to access and complete an application, please view the B2Gnow Online Application User Manual


Apply here

Certification Requirements

In order to be certified as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), all businesses must meet the following minimum certification requirements:

  1. The business shall be a U.S.-based business which is independently owned, operated and controlled and is not dominant in its field of operation, or an affiliate or subsidiary of a business dominant in its field of operation.
  2. The business shall meet the size standards of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA).
  3. The business shall have demonstrated capacity to perform independently or as a subcontractor relative to its field of operation.
  4. The business shall not be owned, operated and controlled by individuals or groups of individuals, who own, operate and control a large business involved in the same category of work as the business for which SBE certification status is sought.
  5. The business shall be operational for at least one year prior to certification.
  6. The owner shall control the day-to-day critical operations of the firm.
  7. The owner or owners shall be citizens or permanent, legal residents of the United States.


In addition, detailed below are specific certification requirements that assist in determining SBE certification eligibility:

The business shall be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more persons who are at an economic disadvantage and who is experiencing substantial difficulty in achieving business-related success as a result of at least 3 of the following:

  1. At a disadvantage with respect to business location. (To determine whether your business location meets this criterion, enter your business address on My Milwaukee Home and click on the "Special Interest" tab. Scroll to the bottom of the page to determine whether your business is in a Renewal Community.)
  2. At a disadvantage with respect to education.
  3. At a disadvantage with respect to employment.
  4. At a social disadvantage.


AT AN ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE means an inability to compete in the free enterprise system due to diminished capital, credit or bonding opportunities. Factors which will be considered as an indication that an individual has been economically disadvantaged include, but are not limited to, failure to accumulate adequate business capital or obtain sufficient credit to start or support an ongoing business concern, failure to acquire business related credit or bonding under terms or circumstances as favorable as those generally experienced by non-disadvantaged individuals, consistent failure to receive awards or bids of governmental contracts despite competitive pricing or other similar factors which have disadvantaged the applicant in the development of a business.

AT A DISADVANTAGE WITH RESPECT TO BUSINESS LOCATION means location within a renewal community within the city for a period of not less than one year of the applicant’s principal office and business of which the applicant is the sole owner or one of the owners and a principal operator.

AT A DISADVANTAGE WITH RESPECT TO EDUCATION means failure to attain a high school degree or its equivalent for good reason or attendance in schools which have repeatedly achieved ratings below national, state and community averages in educational standards, educational standardized test scores and student grade point averages.

AT A DISADVANTAGE WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYMENT means a pattern of non-achievement in hiring or promotion and other aspects of employment advancement due to factors beyond the individual's reasonable control, a lack of current knowledge and skills necessary for employment, career advancement or consistent earning of average annual income below the median income level of adults of comparable age in this city.

AT A SOCIAL DISADVANTAGE means an applicant's experience of substantial difficulty in attaining employment or business success at least in part due to location of the individual's residence and lack of mobility, physical handicap and/or other causes beyond the individual's reasonable control.

Required Documents

The City requires several documents to affirm whether a business meets the eligibility criteria for certification.  To assist with gathering the appropriate information, please review the checklists below which contain comprehensive lists of supporting documents that must be submitted along with the application.

·  New Certification Document Checklist 
·  Addendum Certification Document Checklist

If an application is submitted with incomplete or missing documents, the business has ten (10) business days to respond and provide the requested information.  If the requested documents are not provided within ten (10) business days, the application review process will be terminated and the application will be returned to the business owner.  

To expedite the review process, please review the document checklist as many times as needed prior to submitting the application.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at 414-286-5553 or [email protected].

B2Gnow Compliance Reporting and Certification Software

As part of a contract award, contractors are required to participate in mandatory training on the City of Milwaukee Office of Equity and Inclusion’s Compliance Reporting and Certification System (CRCS powered by B2Gnow) within thirty (30) days after contract award.  

Contracts with a value of $25,000 or more are monitored though the CRCS. Both prime and subcontractors are required to report payment information in the CRCS.  

Access CRCS for training or payment monitoring

Dontreal Teague
Business Inclusion Program Coordinator
[email protected] 

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