By Brian J. Stiger.
What if I told you there’s a customer who has a goal to buy $1 billion worth of goods and services from small businesses? This customer buys everything from office supplies and computers, consultant services, clothing, hygiene products, food, bedding, cookware, furniture, and more.
This customer is Los Angeles County.
Maybe you’ve never considered selling your products or services to the government—maybe you didn’t think it was possible or you just didn’t know where to start? There’s no better time than now to certify with the County, connect with contracting opportunities, and grow your business.
L.A. County’s Contracting Connections program is a countywide, four-year effort by the Board of Supervisors and managed by the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). The program was developed to increase the percentage of the approximately $3.9 billion of eligible contracts that go to certified local small businesses to 25 percent and disabled veteran-owned businesses to 3 percent.
The program also includes a first for the County, a new certification for social enterprises. These are businesses that have a social mission to enhance L.A. County socially, economically and/or environmentally.
We understand that running a business is hard work. Small business owners may not feel they have the time or the interest in bidding on County contracts. Thankfully, there are appointed small business advocates in each County department to help guide business owners through the bidding process and let them know if they sell what a department is looking to buy. Also, DCBA has a dedicated small business services team to assist those who need help registering and certifying their business.
Why register and certify with Los Angeles County? Certified local small businesses, disabled veteran-owned businesses, and social enterprises all receive a 15-percent bid reduction or “preference” during the evaluation process. That means when bidding for contracts where cost is a factor in scoring, your bid will be reduced by up to 15-percent, but you’ll still be paid per the bid amount you submitted. The County looks for the lowest price so being certified means you’ll have a competitive advantage against other businesses competing for the bid.
Certified local small businesses also receive payment fast—within 15 days after the County receives an undisputed invoice.
All businesses, whether registered and certified with the County or not, are encouraged to attend events we hold throughout the year where you can learn about free County business development services, contracting opportunities and more. With these events, you’ll always stay in the know.
In the first three months of this year, Los Angeles County bought over $43 million in goods and services from small businesses. It’s a good number, but our goal is much bigger.
Los Angeles County is buying what you are selling. Make your Contracting Connection with the County and we can help your small business certify, connect, and grow.
Brian J. Stiger is Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Visit dcba.lacounty.gov or call (323) 881-3964 to learn more about L.A. County’s Contracting Connections program.