Program Drives Success for Small Businesses

Date:May 09, 2019
Program Drives Success for Small Businesses

KCATA Pilot Program for Disadvantaged Businesses Drives Small Firms to Success 

Fateema and Clark Parrish started their grading and excavation company in 2010 with the hopes of passing a booming business on to their four sons. As a first-generation construction company, Parrish & Sons had a lot to learn about the construction industry. They needed help to land the right contract to get bigger construction jobs to build their portfolio. Enter KCATA.  

KCATA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program helps socially and economically disadvantaged business owners get an equal opportunity to participate in federally funded transportation projects. In 2017, we launched a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) pilot program to help small and disadvantaged business owners get contracts on federally funded projects. The first KCATA project put out to bid under the pilot SBE program was the “Regional Bus Stop Improvements” project. This project is 100% set-aside for SBE firms. It involves adding or fixing the concrete at 20 bus stops around the city. Parrish & Sons and Hartline Construction, another SBE firm, won the bid for the project. KCATA anticipates that this first pilot project will be a jump start to other opportunities in the future.

"We want small businesses to grow and be able to grow capacity to become the big players in the construction game," KCATA Disadvantaged Business Liaison Whitney Morgan said.

Since the start of the SBE Pilot Program, KCATA has been surpassing the DBE goals set on our federally funded projects. From October 2017 to September 2018, KCATA awarded nearly $900 thousand to DBEs of the total contracts awarded. For ongoing contracts, KCATA paid out over $2.4 million to DBE firms during the same timeframe. This means that KCATA awarded over $3.3 million to DBEs. Our current three-year DBE goal for the 2018-2020 FTA reporting period is 15%. We surpassed that, achieving 36% DBE participation on all our projects during the time. Prospect MAX, one KCATA’s major projects, has seen 26% DBE participation during this time.  That means we are truly connecting people with opportunities to grow their small businesses.

On May 31, 2019, KCATA will host a DBE/SBE Informational Workshop at 3 p.m. in KCATA’s Breen Building – Large Conference room located at 1200 E. 18th St Kansas City, MO, 64108. The workshop will teach DBEs how to become certified with KCATA, how to register as a vendor, and will let them know about upcoming procurement opportunities. If you would like to register as a vendor for the workshop, please contact Whitney Morgan at 816-346-0277.

The differences between DBE, SBE, and MBE/WBE

DBE (Current KCATA program)

  • Certification for federally funded projects
  • Determined by socially and economically disadvantaged business owners
    • Socially - based on gender and/or ethnic background of the business owner
    • Economically - based on personal net worth of the business owner

SBE (Current KCATA program)

  • Certification for federally funded projects
  • Determined by the personal net worth of the business owner and size of the business
  • Race and gender are NOT a factor
  • DBEs are automatically considered SBEs

MBE/WBE (Not currently a KCATA Program)
Minority-owned Business Enterprise/Woman-Owned Business Enterprise

  • Certification based on local funding
  • Regulated by the governing body of each municipality
  • Regulations are usually similar to DBE regulations