Friday, July 19, 2019

Stephen Jackson The New CEO of WIBO Weighs In On Getting Minority Contracts

Stephen Jackson The New CEO Of WIBO Explains The Reality Of Preparing And Winning Minority Contracts In NYC
Stephen Jackson (Center) At A Recent WIBO Event
By Stephen Jackson, CEO Of Workshop In Business Opportunities (WIBO) Based In NYC

Recently the NYC Comptroller was saying NYC was doing terribly in minority contracts from the city.  Why is this the case with all the community prepping taking place?

There are other sides to this story. It takes more than getting prepped or certified to play the game of government/corporate contracts. One a small business is not getting a multi-million dollar contract with less than a $100 K in sales.

Government/corporations make primarily large purchases for the services/products they utilize and only a handful of minority businesses are primed for those types of contracts. Two, unfortunately, some minority businesses do not want to invest in the needed insurance, bonding necessary to bid on these contracts.

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How much insurance are you carrying for your business? If you are bidding on these construction contracts then you have to have insurance and bonding in place.

Three Skanska held workshops with the minority businesses they mentor because they know those businesses are prepared for those types of contracts. BTW even if you are not bidding on construction contracts you still need adequate insurance for government/corporate contracts.

I carried $5 million in insurance for our Pfizer and Novartis contracts plus $2 million in bonding. Finally, I see a considerable number Black businesses starting neighborhood businesses to serve primarily their community. I have 50 people in entrepreneurial class this semester and the majority fall into neighborhood service businesses who do would rarely benefit from certification.

I have some minority business contracts doing $3 million to $20 million a year.

If a business is doing well in serving their community, or well in their lane, if what they sell our government doesn't buy or ask for contracts -- why should they get certified? That is the 1st question a business should ask themselves.

A neighborhood business should think creatively.  A better why for them to think about getting major government or corporate contracts is with an outside the box or innovative thinking process.

For instance, your thought process might be: If the government or corporate America does not buy what I sell then a better strategy to explore is to re-position an aspect of my business to supply goods and services they will need in order to seriously consider getting certified.  I have told a bunch of minority businesses this as a board member for the NY & NJ Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.

I didn't say it was a bad thing but if you think these neighborhood businesses are going to get multi-year contracts from the government or corp America then it's wrong. But for example in the case of being a local restaurant you have to look beyond being a restaurant and get into food services which what a former client of mine did.

Thompson Hospitality, which ranks in the top twenties on BE 100 with around $220 million in sales made this transition. He started by buying restaurants but he went into providing food services for a bunch of HBCUs and corporations.

That is when he got certified. He now competes against Armarak, a food service company which is one of the largest in the country.

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