Business Breakfast focuses on increasing contracts with DBEs

Looking to bid on a contract with the City of Knoxville but don’t exactly know how to get started? Not sure if your company is large enough to bid on a City contract?

 

Plan on attending the City’s annual Business Breakfast to learn how to match your company’s products and services with the right projects. The free event, from 7:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14, will be offered at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.

 

James Scruggs, owner of Scruggs and Sons, a local mowing and landscaping company, was interested in expanding his business. He said that his grandfather previously owned a similar business and often talked about how securing city and government contracts was a good way to grow a company. Scruggs was able to make valuable contacts and learn about many resources available to him to learn how to do business with the City of Knoxville during last year’s Business Breakfast.

 

“I had never gone through the process of bidding on a city project. City staff was available to help me understand the procedures and guidelines and made it a positive experience,” Scruggs said.

 

“I’ve been able to win a few small projects and am looking forward to future opportunities that will help my business to increase. I want to leave a business and a legacy for my sons when they grow up.”

 

The City’s Purchasing Division is focused on increasing its overall numbers in contracting with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) for the upcoming fiscal year (FY17). DBEs include minority-, women-, service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses, as well as local small businesses in general.

 

Pamela Cotham was hired in March as Assistant Purchasing Agent. Her primary focus will be to help businesses owned by minorities, disabled veterans, and women to compete for bids and contracts on various work projects by meeting with departments to educate and encourage them to reach out to DBE businesses.

 

The City of Knoxville typically purchases more than $50 million in goods and services every year. Mayor Rogero has made a priority of increasing the percentage of that business that goes to local DBEs.

 

Last year the City contracted with minority-owned businesses for a total of $1.3 million (2.09 percent of total purchases), women-owned businesses for a total of $6.3 million (10.3 percent), and small businesses for $26.4 million (43.2 percent).

 

“In terms of DBE goals, the previous goals for the City have always been a combined total of 10 percent for both minority- and women-owned businesses,” Cotham said. “However, the results have been that we have achieved those goals due almost solely to women-owned businesses, which was not the intent of the goals.  In an effort to increase businesses the way it was intended, the Purchasing Division has been working hard to meet with every single department and division within the City to formulate individual departmental/division goals for the upcoming Fiscal Year 17.”

 

“We anticipate these goals being in the 3 to 4 percent range for minority-owned businesses and the 15 percent range for women-owned businesses.”

 

City of Knoxville department directors, Purchasing Department managers and other top staffers will be talking with prospective business contractors during the Business Breakfast.

 

Sara Hedstrom Pinnell, founder and principal landscape architect of Hedstrom Design, said that getting to know people in departments that govern your realm of work is essential in winning contracts: “Make sure that they understand your capabilities.”

 

Since opening in 2007, Hedstrom Design has been awarded 18 contracts as a prime consultant or part of a team.

 

“The type of projects put out by the City are unique in nature and have helped us build our portfolio of civic projects,” said Pinnell.

 

Free parking for the Business Breakfast will be available in Parking Garage C on Historic Preservation Drive (one block south of Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, across from the Knoxville Marriott).
The breakfast is geared to local businesses so that procurement dollars can be reinvested into the local economy. Future products and services the City will need range from food and beverages to furniture and vehicles, and from janitorial services to landscaping supplies.

 

Representatives from several City departments will briefly discuss specific projects. They will present general information about the projects, the anticipated date the work will be going out for bid, and bidder qualifications, among other things. Participants will also learn about the requirements for doing business and how best to compete for business with the City of Knoxville.

In addition, officials from Knoxville’s Community Development Corp., Knoxville Utility District (KUB) and the Public Building Authority will be on hand to outline their projects and business needs.
Register online by June 8th at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016Business-Breakfast .

 

Questions? Need an accommodation due to a disability? Contact Sherry Bennett at sbennett@knoxvilletn.gov or at 865-215-2293.

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