NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Tuesday celebrated the City’s move to increase economic opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) that will both expedite the use of federal funding while leveling the playing field for all businesses. Mayor Cantrell announced this move during Tuesday’s Small Business Industry Day, a quarterly meeting of City and business leaders, held at the University of New Orleans.
“This threshold will allow small businesses and DBEs, for the first time in the history of the City of New Orleans, to bid on contracts from the City as prime contractors from $20,000 – $5,000,000, no longer limiting them to being only sub-contractors. This will allow them to grow their capacity to become larger businesses,” said Mayor Cantrell. “It’s important to remember that all large businesses started out as a small businesses. We want to allow all of our small businesses and DBEs in the City to grow successfully and competitively, especially with the significant amount of federal grant money flowing through our streets. All businesses deserve their fair shake and their fair share. We are grateful to our large businesses who are mentoring our small businesses and are working with them to bid on contracts. Across the board, this is a win-win for our City.”
Currently the City’s charter prevents the city from providing small businesses with set-asides, or money carved out to help give a boost to a business. Instead, Mayor Cantrell called for the city to create a more level playing field that allows small businesses, DBEs and large businesses to all compete as prime contractors for the some $2 billion in federal money to be put out for bid. All of the businesses can compete for bids as low as $20,000 and as high as $5 million. In the past, small businesses and DBEs only could bid as sub-contractors to the larger businesses. Additionally, the City is setting up a new design pool to manage the $5 million threshold.
The federal funding, also known Joint Infrastructure Recovery Request, currently has $451 million that is out for bid by December. The City plans add staff to manage for expanded contractor support for the project.
In the next Small Business Industry Day, in March 2020, the City will welcome bankers, insurance brokers and other to also use these tools.
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