Training program created by City to better prepare local and disadvantaged businesses to land contracts
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu today launched "BuildNOLA", a training program to prepare local small and disadvantaged businesses to more effectively compete for public and private contracts. The program will expand the city’s pool of competitive and qualified bidders and maximize contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). BuildNOLA is in line with Mayor Landrieu’s Economic Opportunity Strategy – a comprehensive effort to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities by working to ensure every resident can take part in the city’s economic growth through partnerships with local training providers, social service agencies, and community advocates.
From 2010 through 2014, DBE firms were awarded over $400 million in business opportunities with the City of New Orleans, New Orleans Aviation Board, Sewerage and Water Board, and the Regional Transit Authority. BuildNOLA will prepare local small and disadvantaged businesses for sustainable growth to be measured by increased business revenues, new contracting opportunities and job creation.
“The success of our small businesses is more important to the fabric of our city now than ever before, which is why we launched our Economic Opportunity Strategy last year,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “BuildNOLA takes the Economic Opportunity Strategy to the next level, preparing the most historically disadvantaged businesses for contract and growth opportunities. Too many of our residents are underemployed or unemployed, particularly young African American men, and we must do more to ensure every resident has the opportunity to get a good-paying job for themselves and their family.”
The first BuildNOLA cohort is currently underway with 31 individuals participating.
In 2010, the City of New Orleans was awarded a $1.1 million grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist in capacity building training and technical assistance to local small businesses. In 2012, the City implemented the Contractors College and graduated 10 minority contractors from the program.
With the remaining $900,000, the City has launched BuildNOLA, a project-specific capacity building program that prepares local firms and DBE’s to:
Perform a detailed estimate for a specific project;
Prepare relevant forms for bidding work based on the estimate;
Develop a site-specific safety plan appropriate to the scope of work their company would undertake; and,
Create a set of comprehensive contract documents.
The program’s project-specific approach is uniquely designed to ensure opportunity for full participation by DBE firms on targeted public and private sector projects.
The BuildNOLA program consists of two key elements including a training series and one-on-one technical assistance.
The training series is free to all participants. Training consists of a six-week curriculum that provides contractors and/or professional services firms with the necessary tools to increase their organizational and competitive capacity, including:
Overview of the featured project;
Introduction to the project owners and key project managers;
Guidance on the bid process; and,
Mock bidding and/or proposal evaluation exercises.
There are separate tracks for construction projects and professional services. All trainings are hosted at Delgado Community College’s Small Business Center.
Dr. Joan Davis, chancellor of Delgado Community College, said, “Providing opportunity to all members of the New Orleans community for quality educational experiences that enhance their employment potential is fundamental to Delgado Community College’s mission. When we say that Delgado is the place for “education that works,” we mean that sincerely. For more than 90 years, New Orleanians have looked to Delgado as the place where their aspirations for a better life and a better community are achieved. We support all initiatives by city government that improves the lives of those we serve.”
In addition to the project-specific training series, BuildNOLA also provides one-on-one coaching that focuses on the personal development of the business owner as well as specific development areas as identified by an initial business assessment. Coaching includes sessions to focus on the achievement of business goals and milestones, and sessions that track a business’s progression on targeted project timelines.
Throughout the implementation of the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy, Mayor Landrieu has enlisted key partners to support the strategic execution of the initiative. BuildNOLA capacity building partners include: Quality Urban Equities, NewCorp Inc., Goodwork Network, Urban League of Greater New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, U.S. Small Business Administration, Association of General Contractors of Louisiana, and Grainger.
To sign up for the program, New Orleans residents are encouraged to visit www.thenetworkneworleans.org or call 504-658-4200.