The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) have announced a program partnership “to help disadvantaged small businesses improve their access to capital, resources and connections… to ensure that everyone can benefit from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
The agencies held a business forum at USDOT headquarters on Sept. 20 with multiple panels including business leaders, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, and the U.S. Department of Commerce for MBDA Undersecretary Don R. Cravins Jr. He also presented a “Business Matchmaking Session to help connect small businesses, major major corporations, and various transportation mode representatives from the federal, state, and municipal levels for offering small business owners the opportunity to hear first-hand from government officials how they can successfully market their services to state and federal agencies. USDOT said it is “on track to that 20% of our federal contracts go to disadvantaged small businesses”.
There are two USDOT-SBA Memoranda of Understanding (Memorandums of Understanding). The former will help the two agencies better support Disadvantaged Small Businesses (SDBs) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in the transportation industry “by removing the systemic barriers that have historically prevented SDBs and DBEs from fully benefiting from opportunities government contracts. This will help small businesses in the transportation industry obtain bonds or increase their bonding capacity to compete in DOT-funded projects.
The second MOU “reflects both agencies’ commitments to provide additional access to capital for small businesses, with a focus on SDB and DBE businesses. The MOU will make available to DOT stakeholders the network of resources related to the SBA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) and support from the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to facilitate the access to private capital for small businesses seeking contract opportunities resulting from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. .”
A memorandum of understanding between USDOT and MBDA will help the two agencies “better engage and grow minority business enterprises (MBEs) underrepresented in national transportation supply chains and related high-growth industries, through coordination of data sharing and reporting tools”.