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Public sector investing in a sustainable business market

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Small businesses are the economic engine driving our local economy. They create approximately 70 percent of the jobs in this country and they also provide the goods and services for the public sector to meet its core business. At Metropolitan Water District that means providing supplemental water for the 18 million people living in Southern California. More than 2,500 certified small businesses are notified of all advertised contracts from Metropolitan's database of local, small, minority- and women-owned businesses. A small business requirement is set on all construction contracts instead of a good faith effort; levels of participation are set on professional services with attractive incentives applying to local and small businesses, and discounts are applied to procurement bids submitted by local and small businesses. Over the past two years, Metropolitan Water District has assisted many small businesses earn their first public agency contract. As a result, more than 40 percent of all contract dollars go to small businesses in Southern California from Metropolitan. Getting started is easy with the simple small business certification process. Metropolitan Water District is a proud partner of the small business community and joins other agencies in the mission of creating opportunities for small business through its contracting processes and training small businesses how to move through the process successfully. "Strategies for Public Sector Contracting" is a six-week training course that is focused on key concepts of public agency contracting with related human resources, finance and accounting principles. Metropolitan is partnering with the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to provide technical assistance throughout the six-week program along with some of the instructors and curriculum for the identified modules. Metropolitan internal staff and business community experts will teach modules in contracting and project cost estimating/pricing. The pilot class for this program started May 19 at the Metropolitan headquarters at Union Station in Los Angeles and will be rolled out regionally in July this year. Metropolitan understands the importance of investing in the local and small businesses. The investment by Metropolitan in the local and small business community has resulted in numerous benefits that set the pace for great returns to the community: * Saved $2.8 million in government costs in this fiscal year through its contracting program * Awarded 65 percent of all its contracts to small businesses * Reinvested ratepayer dollars toward local economic development and recovery, and created a business-friendly environment * Provided local and small businesses $500 million in opportunities, including construction, human resources services, engineering, catering, printing and video production * Removed red tape that most small businesses have to wade through in order to do business with government entities * Promoted entrepreneurial development that stimulates economic growth by creating and retaining jobs in Southern California. Many small woman-owned businesses in the San Diego area, like Morgan's Monograms, ACME Safety & Supply and Connecting Point have become successful just by starting with Metropolitan's simple small business certification, meeting internal staff and competing for contracts with Metropolitan. Small businesses across Southern California have proved competition increases value both to Metropolitan in cost savings and service and to the business community through expanded business development.

For more information, log on to www.mwd.dst.ca.us>

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