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WCAA Reaches Out To Small Businesses

The Wayne County Airport Authority hosted its Small Business Opportunity Forum at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW) recently in hopes of engaging the talent and resources of more local small businesses in contract opportunities at WCAA’s two airports, DTW and Willow Run (YIP).

“The airport authority’s mission includes creating economic vitality in the region we serve; and our commitment to Small Business Enterprises is a high priority for our organization,” says WCAA CEO Lester Robinson. “We are passionate about certifying more small businesses and having them participate in airport authority contract opportunities.”

Nearly 500 representatives from small businesses within Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties participated in the event, which was free to the public.

“Small businesses truly drive the U.S. economy,” said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. “The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that small businesses employ about half of all private-sector workers, pay nearly 45% of the total U.S. payroll, and have generated 60% to 80% of net new jobs over the last decade. Clearly, providing opportunities for small businesses stimulates employment and beneficial economic activity.”

Small, local businesses were able to hear a testimonial from a small business that has experienced success in providing roofing services to WCAA, as well as presentations about requirements for becoming a WCAA-certified SBE and upcoming contract opportunities. Participants were also able to network with key personnel representing various WCAA divisions and attend workshops on how to best prepare a response to authority procurement solicitations and safety information for contractors working at the airports.
Some of WCAA’s business partners also participated in the event. Congressman John Dingell’s office had representatives sharing information about federal stimulus funding available to small businesses. Representatives from Wayne County’s Purchasing Division, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and financial institutions that support small businesses with insurance, bonding and financing/lending, were also available throughout the event to mingle and share their resources.
“Since joining the board in 2006, I have been a strong advocate of providing more opportunities for small businesses in airport contracting,” says Bernard Parker who represents the Wayne County Commission on the WCAA board. “I was pleased to personally participate in this opportunity forum and was gratified by the large turnout.”
Robinson says that despite the high turnout for the forum, “our commitment to small businesses does not begin or end with this one event. The airport authority’s outreach to local firms will be ongoing, with the goal of continually adding more and more small businesses to the roster of about 200 companies already certified as SBEs under our program.”