DOT expands small business bonding education program

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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that small and disadvantaged businesses will be better positioned to compete for large government contracts as the result of an expansion of DOT’s bonding education program. “When more small and disadvantaged businesses are bond-ready, more will be able to compete for large government contracts,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Helping small businesses helps the U.S. economy grow.”

Most government contracts require a business to produce a bond to protect the government financially in the event the business is not able to complete a project under the terms of a contract. Lacking bonding capacity can limit the ability of small companies to compete for federal projects. The expansion of the department’s Small Business Bonding Education Program, a partnership with Surety and Fidelity Association of America, is designed to help more businesses become bond-ready and better able to compete.

The program expansion consists of an educational workshop component and a bond readiness component. The educational workshops include a 10-week course designed to help small businesses improve their operations in order to become bonded or to increase their bonding capacity. The bond readiness component consists of one-on-one meetings with Surety and Fidelity representatives to assemble materials necessary to complete the bond application process.

Last year, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta were chosen to pilot the program. This year, the program will expand to Baltimore; Raleigh, N.C.; Miami/Orlando; Denver; New Orleans; Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; Seattle; Columbia, S.C.; and Minneapolis.

In 2010, DOT’s Small Business Program received an “A” rating from the Small Business Administration for its accomplishments in supporting small business contracting, the highest rating an agency can receive and the fourth year in which the department received SBA’s highest rating.