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Streamlining MBE/WBE Registration, Notification and Reporting Processes

The City of Grand Rapids is seeking a solution that can streamline MBE/WBE registration, notification and reporting processes in order to ensure that local, minority- and women-owned businesses not only have a fair opportunity to compete for contracts, but can do so easily, intuitively and without significant administrative or financial burdens.

Goals & Objectives


To be successful, a solution will:

  • Develop a streamlined, user-friendly MBE/WBE registration system that simplifies the process for local, minority- and women-owned businesses seeking to compete for City contracts.

  • Implement a notification system that alerts registered MLBEs of new procurement opportunities in a timely and effective manner.

  • Increase the number of registered MLBEs over the course of the pilot.

  • Ease the administrative burden on the City staff responsible for tracking and reporting on our performance.

  • Monitor and report on the City's performance in meeting MLBE participation goals.

  • Comply with state laws (see Challenge Background) regarding MBE/WBE programs.

  • Integrate with Oracle ERP software.

An ideal solution will:

  • Make guidelines for MLBE certification, procurement participation, and reporting requirements easily accessible to business owners.

Release of Challenge: March 22, 2023

Responses Due: April 28, 2023

Questions Due: April 11, 2023

Determination of Selected Startups: May 2023

Expected Work to Begin: June 2023

NOTE: The government reserves the right to modify the dates listed at its sole discretion.

City of Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan, and the largest city in West Michigan. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles east of Lake Michigan and three hours from Chicago. The City’s population is 198,829 and covers an area of 45 square miles. The combined statistical area of Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland is 1.3 million. The City recently received numerous recognitions ranging from the Best U.S. City to Invest in Housing and the Fastest Growing Economy in the U.S. (Forbes); the #1 City to Raise a Family; the #1 Hottest Real Estate Market to Watch (, and #28 Most Hipster City in the world. The Art Prize Festival was ranked one of the Top Five Festivals Worldwide (Time). Fifteen craft breweries are located within Grand Rapids making it locally known as Michigan’s “Beer City.”

In 2019, the City of Grand Rapids adopted a strategic plan that centers equity as a cornerstone for our decision-making. The plan outlines six key strategic priorities – Governmental Excellence, Economic Prosperity & Affordability, Engaged & Connected Community, Health & Environment, Mobility, and Safe Community. Objective 2.2 under Economic Prosperity and Affordability commits us to “optimize the Equal Business Opportunity (EBO)/Micro-Local Business Enterprise (MLBE) program and increase MLBEs registered and used in all City spending.”

Challenge Background

The City has implemented a micro-local business enterprise (MLBE) program for the last 10 years, providing certification and support programs to small local businesses with a focus on those owned by women and people of color. It's important to note that the City is barred by state law from creating local MBE/WBE preference programs, which has complicated our approach.

Over that time, the City has used two separate ERP systems (BS&A and CGI) neither of which were well-configured to support vendor registration, MLBE registration, or follow up/tracking of registered MLBE vendors for adequate support. Instead, much (most) of the burden of navigating the registration, reporting and procurement process lies on the MLBE themselves. This has resulted in a slow registration/adoption rate which has improved with outreach over the past few years (from ~30 to >100).

We are currently in the process of transitioning to Oracle ERP and hope to procure or develop a MLBE management system that can readily integrate both directions and offer a set of tools, prompts, interfaces and reporting mechanisms that will ease the registration/reporting burden on both the business owner and the City staff responsible for tracking and reporting on our performance.

Key Stakeholders

Equity & Engagement Department

Purchasing Office

Comptroller’s Office

Grand Rapids Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Grand Rapids Minority Contractors Association

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB)

Doing Business with the City

Please note that any proposer that may be selected for a pilot will be required to register as a vendor with the City – this can be done prior to submittal or after a selection is made.


Proposers who have questions should send these to at any time until [one (1) week prior] to the due date for proposals. All responses to questions will be posted on the Challenge page on CivStart’s website at:

Responses to Questions

Would you consider a pilot proposal that defers Oracle integration until a contract is established?

Yes – We won’t be fully functional on Oracle for two years. But we need to be able to demonstrate the ability to do so.


To apply for this RFP, please complete the Challenge-Response Form through the CivStart Local Government Innovation programs site at

The challenge response form will include the following questions:

A. Startup/Company Information

  • Company Name

  • Contact Name

  • Contact Email

  • Contact Phone Number

  • Company Website

  • Company Location/Address

  • Team Size/ Total number of team members in your company or team.

  • Case Studies: URL for background material on your product or team (i.e., video, case studies, blog piece, etc.), if any.

  • Briefly describe the product / service your company or team can provide (max 300 characters).

B. Program Expectations and Commitments

  • Interviews are anticipated to take place in May or June with the option of being done virtually or in person. Will you be available during this time?

  • Are you able to commit to visiting the location of this government organization once?

  • The response to this Challenge is to establish a free or low-cost short-term pilot with clear objectives identified in a Scope of Work. A full contract may be considered at the end of the pilot program.

C. Program Proposal

  • Description of your proposed solution.

  • How will your technology help the city achieve its outcomes?

  • Will you be creating a new product / service, or will you be customizing an existing product / service for this challenge?

  • What makes your team qualified to work on this challenge (i.e., previous customer success, professional experience, academic degrees, research, previous product development experience, etc.)?

D. Cost Proposal

  • What is the estimated range of the cost of you to build and pilot your proposed solution product / service?

  • What is the estimated range of average hourly labor costs for key staff required to develop and pilot your product/service?

  • What is the estimated range of any equipment or software that would need to be purchased to demonstrate and/or pilot your product / service?

E. Conflicts of Interest

  • Describe any potential conflicts of interest that your firm may have regarding the project, as well as individual conflicts of proposed personnel, if any.

Challenge ID:


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