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Sunday, May 19, 2024

USDOT Launches DOT Connect to Capital Initiative, Linking Small Businesses to Private Capital Investors

Initiative enhances the new Connections MarketPlace (CMP) platform with a database of SDBs/DBEs and private investors, information on accessing capital, and meaningful engagement between SDBs/DBEs and private investors

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) has launched U.S. DOT Connect to Capital as a component of a new comprehensive Access to Capital Initiative to help small businesses increase access to private equity capital investors. U.S. DOT Connect to Capital is an online portal that serves as a database of Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SBDs), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and capital investors licensed by the SBA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, which allows investors to connect with small businesses seeking to attract private investments.

The ability to access capital is one identified barrier to building capacity and increasing SBDs/DBEs participation with federally funded contracts. The overall initiative and new platform are designed to be a holistic approach to assisting SDBs/DBEs by increasing their awareness and understanding of capital fundamentals and the various aspects of capital as well as increasing their ability to expand their businesses significantly through private investment. This will in turn better enable SDBs/DBEs to take advantage of the myriad of business opportunities stemming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

U.S. DOT Connect to Capital allows SDBs/DBEs to securely input their business information, indicate their interest in connecting with potential investors, and provide a single stop clearinghouse for private investors to search for small businesses that match their investment interests. Additionally, as it is part of the Connections MarketPlace (CMP) platform, users can seamlessly access business development symposiums, webinars, panel discussions and meetings. 

“U.S. DOT Connect to Capital provides users with a comprehensive platform to help small and disadvantaged businesses grow through private equity,” said OSDBU’s Acting Director Tyra Redus. “It is a mutually beneficial resource for small businesses and for investors because of its national scope which decreases barriers to information on both sides and facilitates direct interaction. U.S. DOT Connect to Capital augments the Connections MarketPlace by making it possible for small businesses to have real-time interaction with each other and with private investors.”

In addition, U.S. DOT Connect to Capital will include direct interactions with OSDBU’s Small Business Transportation Resource Centers (SBTRCs) across the nation. SBTRCs provide business counseling that includes market research, training, certification, and procurement technical assistance. All services are provided free of charge.  This supports OSDBU’s strategic goal to promote wealth creation and expand business growth opportunities to all Americans.

Private investors are naturally attracted to small business investment opportunities, which when consummated result in business expansion.  U.S. DOT Connect to Capital provides a virtual platform for investors and SDBs/DBEs to be introduced and interact in a way that may lead to investment opportunities.

“We’re excited about the launch of the U.S. DOT Connect to Capital virtual platform. As an active investor in several Transportation industry companies, we look forward to participating and finding new opportunities to provide capital solutions to disadvantaged businesses,” said Sengal Selassi, CEO and Founder of Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC. “U.S. DOT Connect to Capital will allow users to do that in real time.”

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concession DBE programs are part of the Department’s wealth creation priorities. The program requirements are applicable to aviation, highway, and transit assisted contracting and in the airport concessions industry. On April 9, 2024, the Department published its final rule that removes barriers that impede the success of disadvantaged firms in their trade and industry. The amendments improve prompt payment requirements, make it easier and faster for firms to become certified in multiple jurisdictions, and improves data collected and submitted to USDOT to increase our awareness of how the program operates with optimal efficiency and effectiveness.  The rule becomes effective May 9, 2024. More information, including compendium materials, such as implementation guidance and summary tables are posted on this site, along with virtual (recorded trainings) occurring over the next several months.

More information is available at: 
U.S. DOT Connect to Capital 
Connections MarketPlace (CMP) 

About the Connection Marketplace 
The Connections MarketPlace Platform was created with a focus on bridging the gap between small businesses and federal agency representatives, large prime contractors, and technical assistance providers within the federal government space. By building new conversations during roundtable and matchmaking sessions, the small business community will have multiple opportunities to ask questions, connect with potential teaming partners, and learn how to effectively do business and contract with the federal government. The aim of the CMP is to expand, innovate, and provide the small business community opportunities for meaningful connections with the federal marketplace so they are ready, willing, and able to compete for contracts to meet the Department’s mission to ensure our Nation has the safest, most efficient, and modern transportation system in the world. 

About the SBIC program 
Since 1958, the mission of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program has been to stimulate and supplement the flow of private equity capital and long-term debt financing that American small businesses need to operate, expand, and modernize their businesses. 

SBA does this by licensing and providing capital to professionally managed equity and debt investment funds as Small Business Investment Companies. SBA capital comes in the form of a government-guaranteed loan to the fund to match privately raised capital. The SBA-guaranteed loan, paired with private capital, increases access to financing for qualifying U.S. small businesses and startups while potentially improving risk-adjusted returns for private investors. Learn about SBIC at https://www.sba.gov/partners/sbics/apply-be-sbic#id-about-the-sbic-program

About OSDBU 
The United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) mission is to ensure Small Business policies and goals of the Secretary of Transportation are implemented in a fair, efficient, and effective manner. Our office supports the transportation-related small business community by providing resources for technical assistance, procurement opportunities, access to capital, surety bond assistance and much more. Learn about OSDBU at https://www.transportation.gov/osdbu

Official news published at https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/usdot-launches-dot-connect-capital-initiative-linking-small-businesses-private

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