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Las Vegas, with the help of the Small Business Administration's Surety Bond Guarantee Program awarded more than $1.2 billion in contracts to small construction firms in fiscal year 2013. This number represents a 61 percent increase over fiscal year 2012. SBA also guaranteed bonds for public and private contract bids valued at $4.9 billion, resulting in a total contract amount of more than $6.1 billion.

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The Surety Bond Guarantee program, along with our loan programs, provides small businesses with significant opportunities to grow and create jobs, said Ed Cadena, SBA District Director for Nevada. 2013 was a banner year with nearly $4 million in bonds awarded in the state.

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Through the Surety Bond Guarantee program, the SBA guarantees bid, performance and payment bonds issued by surety companies. This guarantee encourages surety companies to bond small businesses who are having difficulty obtaining bonding on their own. For the past seven years, the Surety Bond program maintained a steady upward trend in every key measure, including the number of bond guarantees issued, contract dollars awarded to small businesses and number of small businesses assisted. 

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The maximum contract ceiling in the program was increased from $2 million to $6.5 million by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. This change is expected to have a big impact with the expected turnaround in the construction industry. For more information visit: www.sba.gov/osg

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The Insight Center released a report on best practices and trends among inclusive business programs at the city and county level. The study examines small, minority, and women business enterprise (SMWBE) programs among 20 of the largest cities and 20 large counties across the U.S.

Local governments employ inclusive business programs in order to address discrimination and to stimulate the local economy by driving city or county procurement dollars to a broader and more diverse segment of the region. A majority of large cities and counties in the U.S. have an inclusive business program.

This study is a complement to a 50-state policy scan carried out by the Insight Center in 2007. 

From the study, researchers we are able to determine that cities are more likely than counties to have such programs and that, while there is a trend toward small business enterprise (SBE) programs, it is generally not at the expense of SMWBE programs.

The study identifies best practices in four areas: policy; administrative; reporting; Feedback and Quality Control.

The best practice cities for SMWBE programs, like Philadelphia and Houston, have best practices in all four areas. The same best practice areas apply to SBE programs.

The study also highlights efforts made by cities and counties in states that have prohibited preference programs, like California, Washington, Michigan, and Arizona. Some of the best practices carried out in these states are in San Diego, with an SBE program, and King County, Washington, with a race-neutral SMWBE program. While less effective than race-conscious SMWBE programs, these programs were found to still can have an impact on anti-discrimination and economic development efforts.

Read the entire study at http://bit.ly/1gSKSJt.


 

For the first time in eight years, it appears that the Small Business Administration will report that federal agencies have met the 23 percent spend goal with small businesses. While the House Committee on Small Business identified last year that the agency had been over counting some of their contract spend, he hailed it as a move in the right direction. The Committee has recently passed six bills to reform federal contracting. Among them, a bill to increase the small business-contracting goal for federal agencies from 23 percent to 25 percent.

These bills also include higher goals for small business contracting and subcontracting; more transparency in contract bundling; improved construction procurement procedures; opportunities for service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses; and other reforms. The National Defense Authorization Acts of 2013 and 2014 incorporated several Committee-sponsored contracting provisions.

In other related news, the House passed the following:

  • Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness Act (H.R. 4118) to delay the penalty for complying with the health care laws requirements. This ensures fairness and applies the law equitably, following President's move to waive parts of the law, including the mandate for businesses. 
  • Electricity Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), which provides an alternative to EPA greenhouse gas regulations to ensure affordable, reliable power produced under consistent, common sense standards. 
  • Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act (H.R. 2641), which streamlines permitting, environmental processes and regulatory review for construction projects undertaken by federal agencies.

 

The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) has released a response to the White House's FY 15 Budget Proposal detailing the portions relevant to its membership. Major proposed policy changes include a dramatic decrease in funding for Grants-in-Aid for Airports (AIP), to be made up for by increasing the maximum passenger facility charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $8.00.

In conjunction with this policy shift, smaller airports and general aviation focused airports would be provided increased AIP resources, while larger commercial airports would be made more reliant on PFC funding sources.

Should this proposed shift be enacted, AMAC believes it would remove $450 million in funding from the protections of the Airport Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs, including the 10 percent aspirational requirement and other goal-setting standards.

AMAC reports that Congress has been skeptical of similar proposed AIP-to-PFC funding shifts in the past, including when the administration proposed such a shift last year in its FY14 budget, and it is unlikely that the White House's proposed FY15 budget will be taken up in either of the House or Senate.

This is the second year in a row that the White House has proposed this AIP-to-PFC funding shift, and the continued discussion and consideration of this policy, which AMAC believes marks a real threat to minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises. For more information, visit www.amac-org.com.

 

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MBE Resource Center

MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.

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MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.

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Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.

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