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The U.S. Department of Transportation yesterday announced a new partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to help small and disadvantaged businesses access resources offered under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Following the announcement, the departments hosted a forum that focused on small businesses' access to capital, resources and relationships when it comes to taking advantage of what's in the infrastructure bill, SBA officials said in a press release.
The forum included multiple panels with business leaders and senior Biden administration officials, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. It also featured a "business matchmaking" session to help small businesses network with large firms and transportation modal representatives from all levels of government.
“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," said Buttigieg.
USDOT is on track to award 20% of its federal contracts to small and disadvantaged businesses, SBA officials said.
The partnerships are solidified by memorandums of understanding (MOU). The first MOU between USDOT and SBA will help the agencies better support small, disadvantaged businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises in the transportation industry by breaking down systemic barriers that have historically prevented those businesses from fully benefiting from government contracting opportunities, SBA officials said. Another MOU between the two agencies reflects a commitment to provide additional access to capital for those businesses.
The MOU between USDOT and MBDA will help the agencies better engage and develop underrepresented minority business enterprises in national transportation supply chains, SBA officials added.