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Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE)

The City of Cincinnati’s Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE) provides procurement opportunities to small businesses, thereby contributing to the economic vitality of the Cincinnati region.

The City remains committed to growing opportunities for small businesses so that the entire community benefits. We are hopeful that more small businesses will participate in the City’s SBE purchasing process. The information presented here will help you to register, prepare bids, and do business with the City. Thank you for choosing to do business with us!


While it is not necessary, there is an advantage when a vendor registers with the City. The vendor can receive all information and payments electronically. (Please note vendors will not be able to receive payment if they are not registered). Registering with the City improves the vendor’s potential of doing business by getting advance notice of bids and the ability to download bid documents 24 hours a day.

Potential vendors can register and be placed on our electronic vendor file by going online and paying an annual fee of $55 at Vendors will be notified via email of bidding opportunities.


Each bid constitutes an offer and an opportunity to enter into a biding contract with the City. All bids should be prepared with the utmost care. To avoid the possibility of rejection, complete the bid documents according to the instructions.

The Current Business Opportunities Portfolio includes a list of business opportunities that are immediately available through the City’s Purchasing Division.

Bidders must return the original bid document (Volume 1 with all pages intact). The bid document should be returned in the sealed envelope provided. Failure to do any of these things may result in the rejection of your bid. The bid must be signed on the appropriate line and received timely by the Purchasing Division before the closing time and date.

All bids for products or services estimated to cost more than $50,000 are opened and read publicly at 12 noon on the designated day stated in the bid document at:

Division of Purchasing
Two Centennial Plaza
805 Central Avenue, Suite 234
Cincinnati, OH 45202

The bids are reviewed by a buyer and entered into a computer system for tabulations after the bid opening.

The Award Process
The bid tabulation and bid response are examined by the buyer to determine if the low bid meets all specifications, terms criteria and conditions of the bid document. Shortly thereafter, the winning vendor is published on our web page.

Award information is usually available about 10 days after the closing date. If you have any questions about a bid results please call 513.352.3209 or you can visit the Purchasing Division between 8a.m and 5p.m. on business days.

The Payment Process
Becoming a registered vendor will allow you to receive payment promptly through the Cincinnati Financial System (CFS).

Policies and Procedures
Purchases made by the City are under authority granted by the Cincinnati Municipal Code and Ohio Revised Code. Purchases are generally made through competitive procedures. Competitive bids are not subject to negotiations. Awards are made to the lowest and best bidder meeting specification and award criteria. After awarding a bid, all bid documents can be available for a small fee if you are not registered.

The City Bulletin
A City publication that gives information about supplies and services that the City is seeking that cost over $50,000. To obtain a subscription contact:

The Clerk of Council’s Office
801 Plum Street, Suite 308
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202


Purchasing Division
Two Centennial Plaza
805 Central Avenue, Suite 234
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: 513.352.3209
Fax: 513.352.1537


The City has a goal that 30% of its total dollars are to be spent with City-certified small businesses. City-certified small businesses get first choice bidding opportunities on contracts less than $50,000. In addition, Workshops and seminars are offered periodically for contractor development.

  • The small business must have a fixed office in Hamilton County 1 year prior to the application
  • The net worth of each owner cannot exceed $750,000.
  • The business must meet the size standard established by the federal government inclusive of any affiliates and must perform a commercially useful function.
  • Self –Certification Application available to firms contracting no more than $50,000 per contract. Full-Certifications are available for larger contracts and substantial documentation will be required.

SBE Directory
The directory will help to identify businesses certified in specific categories. The directory will be continually updated on the web and in hard copy. The directory is availble to all bidders.

Specific Category/Service

Alphabetical (by company name)

SBE Application
The SBE application can be acquired online and in the office. All applications must be notarized and mailed back to the office with all additional documentation on the checklist.

Contact the Office of Contract Compliance Small Business Enterprise Program at:

Office of Contract Compliance
Two Centennial Plaza
805 Centennial Plaza, Suite 222
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: 513.352.3144 • Fax: 513.352.3157
Bid Hotline: 513.352.2437

The Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE) flyer can be downloaded by clicking here.



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