Empowering Florida Minority Leaders, Procurement Personnel, and Public Officials
This Forum will allow minority business owners, public and elected officials better understand both the ‘challenges’ that exist and a private sector solution designed to eliminate ‘barriers’ and create teaming opportunities for contracting at the Federal, State and municipal level. You will be introduced to The Umbrella Initiative, an innovative plan conceived by the FPA Procurement Think Tank at UNF. Its mission is “to double the number of small and minority businesses contracting with the Federal, State and Local government by the year 2020.” Four specific projects, scheduled for deployment in Florida, will be explained so you can participate and benefit from its offerings. You will learn how to use and navigate through the Bidspeed Portal platform with its ‘Teaming and Training Centers.’ Participants will learn how to use a ‘universal’ registry; get certified and ‘protected’ against abusers of the SDB programs; participate in accelerated on-demand trainings; earn continuing education credits (CEC) and access contract financing. The panelists will address the steps that will be taken, to increase contracting opportunities; eliminate ‘barriers’ and bring transparency and accountability in the tracking of both minority businesses and the awards they are receiving at the local and State levels. A separate panel of Federal and State Elected and Government Contracting officials as well as State Service Providers from PTAC and the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN) will provide feedback and answer questions. The forum takes place between 10:30 am – 12 noon.
Federal Agencies are obligated, by statute, to spent 23% of all of their contracts with small businesses. In FY09, this translated to $96.8 Billion dollars in contracts. The SBA Report Card, however, has shown that this goal has never been met, and that most Agencies had been flunking on their efforts to contract with underserved or – as they are called ‘disadvantaged businesses’ since SBA created the SBA Report Card. Most States and municipalities, including Florida, have claimed to devote approximately a similar percentage than the Federal Government to small and disadvantaged business contracting yet there is no dataset database or baseline data available to prove it. If this were true, this reservation would translate to approximately $1 Trillion in public contracts. According to the SBE Council, in 2010, Florida ranked as the 6th friendliest state for entrepreneurs in the country, yet its spending trends with small businesses placed Florida in 45th place. The State’s own procurement program, which benefited minority and disadvantaged businesses, for example, was eliminated in 2003 in favor of a ‘race-neutral’ program which does not keep tract of the contracting results. Florida, for example, has 1,586 public agencies across the state, including municipalities, that issue contracts with taxpayers dollars, yet only 32 of them track their contracts, and not in a way which would help determine if ‘disparities’ or for a better word, ‘discriminatory practices’ and ‘barriers’ are involved in public contracting. The Umbrella Initiative is going to offer private sector solutions on how to eliminate these problems by focusing on the objective of P.L. 95-507 which requires that disadvantaged businesses receive “maximum practicable utilization’ or MPU in government contracting. Why this is important? In April 2011, the Forbes Magazine claimed that Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville were among “the 20 most miserable cities in the country.’ Why? Come to the event and hear the opinion of our experts!
Read more about Let’s Do Business Florida: http://www.letsdobusinessflorida.com