The Small Business Administration (SBA) is advocating for more small businesses to partner with federal contractors, particularly with the latest advancement to update critical infrastructure throughout the U.S. With the passing of the $1 trillion infrastructure law, the Biden administration made available about $60 billion to the states earlier this month. These funds are earmarked for rebuilding critical infrastructure within all 50 states, including Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The SBA has teamed up with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to offer additional opportunities and access to capital while removing common obstacles small businesses often face. A new avenue was created for small and disadvantaged businesses to help connect companies with contracting opportunities and be able to access some of these funds. This includes actions such as direct introductions and educating small business owners on how to be competitive in securing contracts.

The much-needed critical infrastructure work ranges from rebuilding roads and bridges to buildings and public transit. SBA administrator Isabel Guzman reports, “That technical assistance is going to give them the how-to in terms of going after, successfully bidding on, and winning contracts in the federal space.”  

In 2021, the U.S. infrastructure was given a C- by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which is up from a D+ in 2017. Seventeen categories were assessed in 2021, with grades ranging from a B for railroads to a D- for transit.

Small businesses have a difficult time obtaining federal contracts compared to larger entities, in part due to contract bundling. Bundling occurs when multiple tasks are entered into contracts that balloon, causing the contracts to become so large that small and medium-sized businesses can’t take them on.

Another barrier is the lack of history. If a business cannot prove its historical performance, then they fail to compete, making it much more difficult to secure future jobs. This is what the SBA hopes to assist with; connecting businesses with subcontracting opportunities that, in turn, help build up their portfolio and give them a better edge to go after prime contracts.

“It comes down to expanding the number of opportunities and ensuring that small businesses are entering the contracting space, getting certified, and able to know the how-to’s of who to connect to, how to present yourself, and how to get money,” Guzman says.

The SBA is also assisting small businesses within the transportation sector to get bonds, which guarantee agreements. Most federal contracts require businesses to be bonded. Surety bonds are a type of insurance with a three-party contract in which the surety guarantees a contract’s completion, i.e., with the federal government. If a contractor is unable to complete a project, the responsibility falls on the surety company to find a replacement contractor.

It’s estimated that about sixty-five thousand contracts were received by small businesses in 2021, down by almost 40% over the past decade. While the SBA and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation have not enumerated a goal, this partnership aligns with the current administration’s objective to advance the equity in government procurement. The federal administration has set an 11% federal contracting goal for small, disadvantaged businesses, with an increase to 15% by 2025.

At Construction Bonding Specialists, we work with new and experienced contractors to find the most satisfactory bond solutions. As a distinct surety-bond-only agency with decades of bonding experience, we work to discover surety solutions for all types of cases ranging from ordinary to challenging. Call us at 248-349-6227 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

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