In 2011, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BRMA) created a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program to expand its current Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program to include the new race and gender-neutral elements that facilitate participation from all small businesses on grant-assisted contracts.
BRMA recognizes all firms that are already LA UCP DBE Certified as SBE certified. DBE firms do not need to take any additional steps to participate in the SBE program. To qualify as an SBE a firm must meet and document the following criteria:
Business Size Determination - A firm (including its affiliates) must be a small business as defined by SBA standards.
Personal Net Worth - Economic disadvantage is defined as a personal net worth of less than $1.32 million.
Independence and Control - The business must not be tied to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control of business decisions. An owner seeking certification must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm. The owner must also have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to, the type of business in which the firm is engaged.
Burden of Proof Allocation - Applicants carry the initial burden of proof regarding their eligibility and must demonstrate that they meet all requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size, ownership, and control.
BRMA recognizes SBE certified through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), the City of Baton Rouge, and the Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans. In addition, a certified DBE firm will be presumptively eligible as an SBE and there is no need to seek additional certification to participate in the SBE program. In general, the certification of SBE firms is the same as that of DBE firms, except for the exclusion of social disadvantage status based on race and/or gender as the SBE program is a race and gender neutral program.
A directory of DBE firms that are LA UCP certified is located at http://laucp.org/UCP/UCPSearch.aspx.
Benefits of SBE Program
BRMA's mission is to establish an environment where all businesses are able to compete at the same level. For small businesses, there can often be barriers to entry. Through the SBE Program, BRMA has worked to identify and mitigate these barriers through new program elements including small purchases, set-asides, and unbundling independent portions of a contract.
All small businesses, including DBE firms, benefit because:
There are increased bidding opportunities for small businesses to act as the prime contractor on a project, to gain experience bidding and contracting at a public agency, and to complete work that is part of a large capital project, and
The projects may be right-sized for an SBE firm to perform and may also require less bonding and other overhead costs than a larger project
More information on SBE program elements can be found here:
The Airport conducts an annual outreach program which includes an overview of the program. Additionally, the outreach program provides an in-depth tutorial on how to become certified by the LA UCP, how to comply with the Airport's DBE program, and where to find services at local small business development centers.
The Airport advertises business opportunities through Baton Rouge City Purchasing and the legal section of the Baton Rouge Advocate. Individuals and firms interested in doing business at the Airport are encouraged to register as a vendor through City Purchasing and (http://brgov.com/dept/purchase) monitor the newspaper (www.2theadvocate.com).