Technical Assistance Resources
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) ensures that small businesses, including disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), are provided maximum opportunity to participate in the USDOT contracting process. This includes ensuring that small businesses and DBEs receive valuable technical assistance, develop relationships within the industry and have the opportunity to compete for USDOT funded contracts.
The OSDBU's programs and range of technical assistance resources include:
Small Business Transportation Resource Centers (SBTRC): There are currently 13 SBTRCs reporting to OSDBU's Regional Assistance Division serving all fifty states and U.S. territories. The SBTRCs help small businesses become more competitive in the market and ultimately acquire contracting opportunities within the transportation industry. SBTRCs work closely with state and local transportation agencies and technical assistance providers to obtain current and upcoming contracting opportunities.
The existing programs help strengthen businesses in their pursuit of those opportunities and provide:
- Sound Advice: Obtain detailed business analyses and counseling
- Access to Capital: Discover the best available capital, including loan and bond assistance
- Assistance in the contracting process: Learn how to find contracts and conduct market research
- Connections: Participate in networking forums, hold informative workshops, and foster relationships between prime contractors and subcontractors
- Specialized Assistance to Everyone: Earn certifications (DBE, SDB, WOSB, VOB, SDVOSB, and HUB Zone)
Bonding Education Program: Through USDOT’s partnership with the Surety and Fidelity Association of America, the USDOT Bonding Education Program (BEP) helps build the capacity of small businesses, including DBEs, by increasing their competiveness for contracting opportunities. As small, emerging and minority contractors work one-on-one with bond producers, underwriters, and other surety professionals, as part of the program, these contractors receive the individualized training on how to manage and grow sustainable businesses, develop a trust-based relationship with a licensed surety, become bondable, and have the ability to identify and bid on projects. Ultimately, contractors realize bonding is a tool that can support economic empowerment, sustainability, job creation, and legacy wealth. This program is tailored to businesses competing for transportation-related contracts.
Short Term Lending Program: OSDBU's Financial Assistance Division (FAD) administers the Short-Term Lending Program (STLP), providing eligible firms with access to the capital they need to grow and compete in the transportation industry. The USDOT provides a guarantee to participating STLP financial institutions who provide revolving lines of credit up to $750,000 for small businesses with federally funded transportation-related contracts.
Mentor-Protégé Program: USDOT’s Mentor-Protégé Program enhances the capability of disadvantaged and small business owners to compete for federal procurement opportunities by building private-sector relationships between prime and subcontractors. This program enhances USDOT’s efforts to identify and respond to the developmental needs of small and disadvantaged businesses. It also gives small businesses the ability to expand their experience and cultivate relationships within the industry.