September 20, 2022

SBA: Groundbreaking Partnerships Announced to Connect Small and Disadvantaged Businesses to Infrastructure Programs

DOT Will Host Business Forum to Improve Access to Capital and Resources in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Today, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the USDOT Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and the US Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) announced partnerships to help small and disadvantaged businesses access the resources they need to succeed. These partnerships will support the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government efforts to support American businesses.

To kick off the partnerships, the agencies are hosting a Business Forum at USDOT Headquarters today, September 20th. The forum is focused on helping small and disadvantaged businesses and improve their access to capital, resources and relationships – working to ensure that everyone can benefit from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The forum includes multiple panels with business leaders and senior Biden-Harris Administration officials including US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, and US Department of Commerce for Minority Business Development Under Secretary Don R Cravins Jr. It also features a Business Matchmaking Session to help connect small businesses, large prime firms, and various transportation modal representatives from the federal, state, and municipal levels. It offers small business owners an opportunity to hear first-hand from Administration officials how they can successfully market their services to state and federal agencies.

USDOT is on target for 20% of our federal contracts to go to small and disadvantaged businesses – a major goal set by President Biden to help ensure the work to build America back better, benefits everyone.

“Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are making historic investments in our transportation infrastructure—and that represents major opportunity for historically excluded Americans and our nation’s small businesses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These new initiatives with our partners at SBA and MBDA will help more small business owners secure federal contracts to modernize our country’s infrastructure for decades to come.”

“These historic agreements between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation will leverage the SBA’s lending, investment capital and bonding support to help ensure that small businesses receive the funding they need to build America’s critical infrastructure systems,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman. “I am grateful to Secretary Buttigieg and the USDOT team for their close partnership with the SBA and the MBDA. Strong interagency collaboration in support of our nation’s small and disadvantaged contractors, manufacturers, and other enterprises is ital to advancing President Biden’s vision of building a better America and an economy that works for everyone.”​

“Small businesses are the heart of our economy and a key driver of economic growth and opportunity,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, this Administration is committed to ensuring small and minority-owned businesses have access to the opportunities created by historic investments in infrastructure. The partnership between the Department of Transportation and the Minority Business Development Agency will engage and support small and disadvantaged businesses to help strengthen our supply chains and help America remain competitive globally.”

The partnerships are memorialized through three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between the USDOT and SBA and the USDOT and MBDA, which advance the Administration’s commitment to ensuring equity in procurement initiatives and strengthening USDOT’s support for training, capacity building, and technical assistance in bonding and business development.

The first MOU between USDOT and SBA will help the two agencies better support small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in the transportation industry by breaking down systemic barriers that have historically prevented SDBs and DBEs from fully benefiting from government contracting opportunities. It will help small businesses in transportation obtain bonds or increase their bonding capacity to compete in DOT-funded projects. 

The second MOU between USDOT and SBA reflects commitments by both agencies to provide additional access to capital for small businesses, with a focus on small and disadvantaged businesses (SDB) and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms.  The MOU will make available to DOT stakeholders the network of SBA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)-related resources and support from the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to facilitate access to private capital for small businesses (with a focus on SDB and DBE firms) pursuing contract opportunities resulting from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The MOU between USDOT and MBDA will help the two agencies better engage and develop underrepresented Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) in national transportation supply chains and related high growth industries, through coordination of data sharing and reporting tools.

These MOUs and the Business Forum event are critical examples of the work the Biden-Harris Administration is doing to support small businesses, ensure they are “contract ready,” and advance equity — especially as agencies work to deliver on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s promise to create good-paying union jobs and grow our economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed.

This post was originally published here.