This is an important article for readers who wish to do business with Metro. As the monthly agenda for the Metro Board shows, the agency contracts out quite a bit of work — and the following is about an effort to give more businesses a chance to compete for that work. The article was written by folks in the Small Business Enterprise program:
In January of this year, the Metro Board approved an agency-wide Small Business Set-Aside Program as a breakthrough initiative to level the playing field for Small Business Enterprises (SBEs) so that they can compete as prime contractors, consultants and suppliers.
The program covers competitively negotiated contracts, sealed bids and public works that range from $3,000 up to $5 million and meet certain criteria, depending on the type of procurement. Certain informal and formal procurements will now be set aside for competition among SBEs when there is a competitive pool of three or more SBE firms available to perform the work.
The Set-Aside Program was developed in response to a recent mandate by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to improve competition by SBEs on FTA-funded procurements. Metro also expanded the program, which launched June 2, 2014, to include other procurements (i.e. they don’t have to be federally-funded projects) under its Small Business Enterprise Program.
“Small business participation is essential to our procurement strategy as we sharpen our focus on increasing SBE competition,” said Stephanie Wiggins, Metro’s Executive Director, Vendor/Contract Management. “Under Metro’s groundbreaking Small Business Set-Aside Program, SBEs will have improved access to learn about and respond to solicitations, competing only against other small businesses on applicable contracts.”
To be eligible, small businesses must be certified by Metro as SBEs in the applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes at the time of bid or proposal submission, and must perform a Commercially Useful Function (CUF) – meaning SBE primes must perform at least 30 percent of the total cost of contract value with their own workforce.
Businesses interested in participating are encouraged to become certified as SBEs with Metro as soon as possible. Those firms that are already certified are encouraged to review their current data to ensure that their NAICS codes and contact information are up-to-date.
“This unprecedented access to Metro’s contracting opportunities significantly boosts small business competition, leading to more contract awards, increased job creation and accelerated growth for the local economy,” Wiggins added.
You can learn more about Metro’s Small Business Set-Aside Program at the Metro Diversity and Economic Opportunity Department web page.