CTA launches new Building Small Businesses (BSB) program

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), in partnership with Ascend HUB Interactive (HI), announces the official launch of the CTA Building Small Businesses (BSB) Program, an innovative resource model and initiative designed to increase the participation of local small businesses in large-scale projects. , government capital improvement projects. The BSB program is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by CTA to bring equity and inclusion to all aspects of its operations.

“More than just buses and trains running through the city, public transit is the equalizer of equity for everyone, providing affordable access to jobs, schools and vital resources – regardless of background or background. circumstances,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The Building Small Businesses program enables us to further extend the benefits of public transit to the communities we serve by providing the tools and resources that small businesses Minority-owned businesses need to compete properly and successfully for CTA and other large-scale contracting opportunities that are traditionally beyond their reach.

The BSB program was developed to provide financial advice to small businesses and other disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) by offering direct placement of loans and other support so that they can demonstrate the initial capital needed to be competitive in building large-scale transportation and capital programs.

For some small businesses, working on a large construction project requires resources that many businesses don’t have, including cash flow that can allow them to purchase materials before being reimbursed, access to loans and other forms of credit, insurance for larger jobs, and access to computer and administrative support. Without these tools, it may be impossible for many small businesses in the Chicago area to participate in construction projects.

The BSB program was officially launched at a networking and information event on Thursday July 21, which was attended by over 60 local businesses to learn more about the BSB program and also hear from guest speakers including Nuria Fernandez, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration; and Shelby Scales, director of the Office of Small Business and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the US Department of Transportation.

Piloted in 2019 as the first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization Program, the BSB program has proven to be quite successful, with over 100 small businesses in the Chicago area participating in the program, 20 of which have received funding of $5.6 million, which is vital for construction. the ability to be willing to tender for subcontract work on CTA projects, including being willing to lend to grow their business.

The program consists of free capacity building workshops for small businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) or wish to become DBE certified.

The BSB program provides one-on-one financial counseling and loan prequalification assistance. Businesses that are not immediately prequalified for financing will have access to direct placement of loans for financial needs such as mobilization, working capital for payroll, equipment and other cash flow needs. The program includes insurance and bonding training. Eligible businesses may also receive administrative support, technical assistance and other business training.

In addition to helping DBEs compete, the program also aims to increase the number of DBEs in the state, currently about 2,800, and encourage more of them to do business with CTA.

For more information on the project, contact CTA’s Diversity Department by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or by calling (312) 681-2600.