Civic Community Partners (Civic) has launched the Building Business Success (BBS) Program which focuses on building capacity and growing small businesses. This program primarily focuses on Minority Owned Business Entities (MBEs) and/or Disadvantaged Business Entities (DBEs) who are providing services to anchor institutions or working within the construction industry. The program currently has $1.5 million in lending capital available. The BBS Program offers training and resources that are designed to help build the competitive procurement capacity of small to medium-sized businesses by providing comprehensive small business education, building social capital, and increasing access to working capital.
The BBS program has been established to addresses four major areas that often limit the growth and success of MBEs/DBEs:
- the lack of financial capital;
- the lack of social capital;
- the lack of a comprehensive business education; and
- the lack of equitable access to procurement opportunities and a fair selection process.
The first barrier facing MBEs and DBEs is the lack of “Financial Capital.” Owners of MBEs/DBEs often lack access to financial capital in comparison to their counterparts. The BBS program seeks to address this by providing business loans to MBEs/DBEs who meet Civic’s underwriting criteria. These loans provide working capital with flexible underwriting terms that consider the limited net-worth, collateral and credit histories generally prevalent among DBEs. The loans may be used to purchase necessary supplies and equipment or to pay for staffing. Loans will be secured by contracts with major anchor institutions such as governmental entities, educational entities and large regional institutions.
The second barrier facing MBEs and DBEs is the lack of “Social Capital” and business networks. Social Capital allows businesses to form relationships with a network of similar businesses or businesses that may be seeking the services of MBEs or DBEs. Additionally, Social Capital is a resource that a growing business can utilize to seek advice or troubleshoot issues with trusted colleagues or subject matter experts. To help MBEs/DBEs develop Social Capital, the BBS Program will recruit and introduce numerous subject matter experts within the fields of small business and supplier diversity. This network of participating advisors, mentors, and other business owners will deliver the trainings that are essential to the success of the participants.
The third major barrier facing MBEs and DBEs is the lack of educational resources for small businesses. Business education is necessary to empower small businesses to grow. The educational opportunities include business planning, project budgeting, marketing, compliance, human resources management, risk mitigation financing, and the importance of obtaining the proper certifications as well as the necessary bonding or insurance requirements to do business with anchor institutions. Civic underwrites the workshops and coordinates with strategic partners to deliver the training portion of the program.
The first BBS training cohort is currently underway with 24 local business owners participating in the online training. Participants in the BBS program gain valuable insight into the procurement processes and access to mentors from co-sponsors, National CORE and the Council for Supplier Diversity as well as the opportunity to network with peers thereby building their personal and professional social capacity.
To address the fourth barrier facing MBEs/DBEs, lack of access to procurement opportunities, Civic will collaborate with regional partners such as the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, University of San Diego, and the Council for Supplier Diversity and other regional anchor institutions and stakeholders. The goal of this collaboration is to work with the local anchor institutions to identify and remove procurement barriers to create a more diverse and equitable selection process of MBEs or DBEs.
For information on upcoming BBS trainings or to request information about the lending program contact Gustavo Bidart, Manager, Economic and Community Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.