By Karen Stokes
The Construction Business Group’s (CBG) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development Initiative (DBEDI) and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Capital Access Clinic will partner to help minority, women, and other historically disadvantaged-owned businesses to succeed in the Wisconsin transportation construction industry.
With this newly formed partnership, we hope the industry training CBG provides, matched with the expertise the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center’s Capital Access Clinic has in helping businesses raise private capital, will lead to real growth for Wisconsin’s disadvantaged transportation contractors,” said CBG’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development Director Joe Davis, Sr.
Davis says their main purpose is to scale up Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) to identify those wanting to upgrade in the construction trades, specifically in the highway industry.
What they do is get these businesses certified as a DBE through Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) and get utilized with road building contracts.
The Master Class is the vehicle in which CBG will provide strategic resources for DBEs who are eager to either enter the road-paving industry or build capacity in the existing business. CBG will be using their established internal expertise and external partnerships to develop an industry-specific training that will be targeted to the DBE’s capacity.
“The Master Class teaches them about the industry from people in the industry. Bonding and insurance, it’s taught by M3 Insurance, when it comes to labor law we have ASME and Quarles and Brady,” Davis said.
“This class makes better business owners. When they understand cash flow and they understand how to negotiate with a prime contractor, that’s what makes DBEs better,” said Davis. “I’m trying to make sure we can create generational wealth.”
The DBE program sets a national goal of placing at least 10% of federal highway and transit funds with persons who qualify as disadvantaged small business operators.
WisDOT invests over $1.5 billion annually in federal and state dollars for state highway, airport and transit projects. These funds translate into millions of dollars in transportation-related contracts and project work for DBE firms.
“The funding for this program came from the American Rescue Plan in the Biden Infrastructure Bill,” said Davis.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Davis said. “I do one-on-one training and talk about the history of the market and the industry. If you get into it and understand it, you can be successful.”
Current or potential disadvantaged businesses interested in being part of Wisconsin’s transportation industry should contact CBG’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development Initiative at 608-310-8353 or visit https://cbgwi.com/page-1/.