The City of Saint Paul Vendor Outreach Program (VOP) is a business assistance program aimed at helping woman-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses enterprises (WBE, MBE, SBE). Under the VOP program, the city establishes annual goals and project-specific goals for purchasing from WBEs, MBEs and SBEs in a variety of products and service categories.

The majority of contracting opportunities are in the following areas, where goals may be set on individual projects:

  • City construction projects
  • PED/HRA development projects
  • Professional services

Program staff also provide:

  • Referrals to technical and financial assistance
  • Information about the public contracting process
  • Other outreach activities

Program Eligibility & Certification

To be eligible for the Vendor Outreach Program, businesses must be certified through the CERT Program, which is a centralized certification process for the City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and Hennepin County.

Businesses must demonstrate that they are owned and controlled by women or minorities, or must meet certain revenue guidelines. Once certification documents have been approved, businesses are certified for all participating jurisdictions. The online application, additional eligibility information and directories of certified businesses can be found on the CERT Program website.

VOP Documents

VOP documents you may need when bidding on or participating on City-funded projects:

VOP Ordinance Amendments

On January 6, 2016 City of Saint Paul Administrative Code § 84 was amended to align the Vendor Outreach Program with other City of Saint Paul contract compliance requirements and codify established VOP practices and policies. A summary of the VOP ordinance amendments is available and major amendments include:

  • $50,000 Threshold:  Creating a $50,000 threshold for VOP applicability.
  • Small Business Set-Aside Program:  Creating a “Small Business Set-Aside Program” for CERT certified businesses.
  • Exemptions
  • Good Faith Efforts-Consequences:  Consequences for failure to establish good faith efforts.

Last Edited: December 15, 2020