February 5, 2003
Among the first transit agencies in the United States to implement such an initiative, the CTA has completed the first year of a Business Development Program (BDP) that is providing minority- and women-owned businesses with the tools they need to become more competitive. The news was presented at the Chicago Transit Board monthly meeting today by the agency's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) department.

Providing support such as business assessments, planning workshops, customized management trainings and one-on-one technical assistance to more than 100 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms in its first year, the program already has reached some key milestones. BDP participants have secured 23 percent more contracts in 2002 as compared to the previous year, before the program began.

?By working with minority- and women-owned businesses in developing their competitive skills, this program is successfully increasing the pool of contractors qualified to bid on CTA contracts," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?Without this program, many of these vendors would not have had the qualifications to be considered."

One of the most comprehensive development programs for minority and women-owned businesses in transit today, in just one year, CTA's Business Development Program has:

Received 120 requests from firms seeking BDP assistance, with 112 meeting eligibility requirements;

Held Business Planning workshops for 36 firms;

Held Calculating Indirect Costs Rates workshops for 21 firms;

Authorized 45 firms for individual business assessments;

Completed Company Business Plans for 11 firms; and

Completed Business Assessment Reports for 21 firms.

All services associated with the program are provided to DBE firms at no cost. Firms must maintain DBE eligibility in order to participate in the BDP.

?The CTA's Business Development Program helps these firms access certain markets and strengthens their financial and managerial skills," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?A key focus is to provide assistance and business skills training which allow DBEs to move into non-traditional areas of work, including bus and rail equipment supply and security. With continued support from Mayor Daley for DBE programs in Chicago, DBE firms have additional tools needed for success."

When a firm has been determined to have successfully achieved the targets, objectives and goals set forth in its program term along with demonstration of its ability to compete in the marketplace, the firm will be graduated from the program to allow for entry of new DBE firms.

During 2003, the BDP will continue open enrollment for new DBE firms. CTA anticipates increased requests from enrollees during the year in the assistance areas of Management Team and Customized Management Training services. To that end, the CTA currently is evaluating the use of established Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) associated with university resources, established business owners and consultants during the next enrollment year.

The program provides enrolled firms business assistance in one or more of five developmental areas: Economics, Finance, Marketing, Management and Information Systems. Business assessments, assistance with business plans, identification of technical assistance needs and providers, and business development workshops are all key components. Ralph G. Moore and Associates, Inc. (RGMA) is administering the program for CTA.

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