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Meeting between members of SBA and USDOT.
Historic agreement between the SBA and USDOT. Photo: @SBAIsabel.

New alliances agree to connect small businesses with infrastructure programs

The Biden Administration specified that these businesses access federal resources.

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The Small Business Administration (SBA), USDOT's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) recently announced the launch of several partnerships to help small businesses access the resources they need to grow their businesses.

Following a business forum held on September 20 at USDOT headquarters, which provided training for small business owners to improve their access to capital, resources, and relationships, attendees also had the opportunity to learn how they can successfully market their services through state and federal agencies and how to benefit from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

The forum was attended by top business leaders and senior White House officials, including US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmán, and US Department of Commerce for Minority Business Development Under Secretary Don R Cravins Jr.

Pete Buttigieg stated:

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.

In Favor of Small Businesses

The Biden Administration has set a goal that 20% of federal contracts go to small and disadvantaged businesses.

“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,” added Buttigieg.

Memorandums of Understanding

The alliances were sealed through three Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between USDOT and SBA, and USDOT and MBDA, which further the government's commitment to ensure fairness in procurement initiatives and strengthen USDOT support for training, capacity building, and technical assistance in linkages and business development.

  1. First MOU (SBA-USDOT): It will allow the two agencies to better support small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) and commercially disadvantaged businesses (DBEs) in the transportation industry, breaking down systemic barriers that have historically prevented that they fully benefit from government contracting opportunities. It will help small businesses in transportation earn bonds or increase their bond capacity to compete on DOT-funded projects.
  2. Second MOU (USDOT-SBA): Through this, the network of resources related to the SBA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) will be made available to DOT stakeholders, as well as the support of the Office of Investment and Innovation of the the SBA, to facilitate access to private capital for small businesses (with a focus on SDBs and DBEs).
  3. Third MOU (USDOT-MBDA): It will enable these two agencies to better develop minority business enterprises (MBEs) underrepresented in national transportation supply chains and related high-growth industries, through the coordination of reporting tools and data exchange.

Reactions 

"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. 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,” said Isabella Casillas Guzmán, SBA Administrator. 

For her part, Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, highlighted: “Small businesses are the heart of our economy and a key driver of economic growth and opportunity. 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.”

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