Forums aim to help small firms win work as Legislature debates “small businesses”
By David Pendered
Two upcoming forums will provide information to small and minority companies seeking contracts to design and build projects in Atlanta to be funded with proceeds of the proposed 1 percent sales tax for transportation.
Presenters will talk about the procurement processes to be used to award contracts for planned transportation projects in Atlanta, MARTA, DeKalb and Fulton counties. Registration for the session Wednesday is closed, but openings remain for the March 6 event.
The forums occur as the state Legislature debates a proposal to redefine small business as it relates to state purchasing contracts. House Bill 863 would change the size of a small business, for purposes of competing for a state contract, from 100 employees to 500 employees.
The state and local governments often have requirements that a certain amount of public contracts be awarded to small, disadvantaged businesses.
The pending legislation would apply to the portion of state code (Title 50, Chapter 5), which cites the following legislative intent:
“In order to encourage … competition it is the declared policy of the state to ensure that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts or subcontracts for property, commodities, and services for the state be placed with small businesses so long as the commodities and services of small businesses are competitive as to price and quality.”
Current law defines small businesses as fewer than 100 employees. HB 863 would raise the size to 500 employers.
In addition, the forums occur as the region embarks on potentially more than $9 billion in public construction projects. That figure includes more than $7 billion in proposed transportation projects in the 10-county region, $1.4 billion in upcoming sewerage upgrades in DeKalb County, and the ongoing $4 billion sewerage upgrade underway in Atlanta.
“These forums an opportunity for minority businesses to get a clear understanding of the opportunities associated with the BeltLine and Streetcar, and to meet with prime contractors to form relationships,” said Stacey Key president and CEO of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council.
Key said those who attend will be able to talk about both the proposed transportation projects and the other public construction projects now underway.
The two forums are being hosted at the AGL office in downtown Atlanta by the Atlanta BeltLine, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, the Atlanta Business League, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and the Greater Women’s Business Council.