Since the Recovery Act was passed in February of 2009, there have been a series of investments to jumpstart the economy and create new jobs. These investments included tax cuts for millions of working families and businesses; an increase in federal funds for education and health care; expansion of the nation’s broadband and wireless services; and construction and repair of roads and bridges.
The Recovery Act and MBDA
As the only federal agency tasked with promoting the growth and global competitiveness of the minority business community, MBDA worked to ensure minority-owned firms received their fair and equitable share of Recovery contracting opportunities.
In 2009, MBDA provided additional funding to seven Minority Business Centers across the country: Mesa, AZ; Bismarck, ND; New Orleans, LA; Durham, NC; San Jose, CA; Detroit, MI and Philadelphia, PA. These Centers have been able to put additional resources into ARRA and contracting for minority businesses. Each Center has participated in or hosted business-to-business workshops focused primarily on connecting minority-owned firms with procurement officers at the federal, state and local levels. They have also forged relationships with prime contractors who received contracts on shovel-ready projects to increase their use of minority-owned sub-contractors.
MBDA continues to focus on ARRA contracting opportunities for minority-owned firms and provides resources to increase the percentage of minority businesses included in contracting. So far, 16 percent of ARRA contracting dollars have gone to minority-owned firms, totaling just under $3.5 billion.
What Minority Businesses Can Do
ARRA contracting is no different than any other government contracting, therefore, MBDA recommends minority-owned firms:
- Register in the Central Contracting Registry (CCR) www.ccr.gov. If you are already registered, please make sure your profile is up-to-date with correct contact information, capabilities, bonding and most important: “past performance.”
- Register with MBDA’s Phoenix Opportunity Matching System and visit your local MBDA business center.
- Look out for “Sources Sought” and “Request for Information (RFIs)”. If you are contacted regarding an opportunity, please respond as soon as possible.
Make contacts, build relationships and form strategic alliances.
- Some contracts may be large or bundled, but by building strategic partnerships with other companies, your company can still be a part of the work.
- Firms that are 8(a)s, in the GSA schedule, women-owned business, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Service Disabled Veteran-Owned businesses, Native Tribes, businesses in Hub-Zones: and are State certified and have strong past performance have a more significant competitive advantage for “shovel ready” projects.
- Keep informed by visiting recovery.gov, fedbizopps.gov and grants.gov to make sure you are aware of every opportunity for your business.
- Overall, make sure your business is ready, has strategic alliances in place and can take advantage of these opportunities as they become available.
For more information, or to make sure your business is ready, please contact a minority business center near you.