Baltimore City Announces Plan to Help Small Businesses Compete for Utility Contracts

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott
Brandon Scott

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Jason W. Mitchell announced a new strategy, the DPW Unbundling Initiative that will mentor Baltimore-based diverse and small businesses and prepare them to compete on their own as general or prime contractors.

The DPW Unbundling Initiative will expand the capacity of the City’s local and diverse contractor community to compete as general or prime contractors for the Department’s water and wastewater utility contracts. On large DPW and other City contracts, small businesses tend to serve as subcontractors to general contractors.

“DPW has recognized that many local and diverse firms can perform these highly technical and urgent contracts when given the opportunity, time, and support to perform them,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This is an initiative that I want to see implemented across Baltimore City agencies.”

The Unbundling Initiative builds on DPW’s current efforts, the Small Business Development (SBD) Training Program, to prepare small businesses how to do business with the City.

“The DPW Unbundling Initiative is equity in action. This initiative will ensure that Baltimore-based Small Minority-and Women-Owned Businesses can compete for and benefit from DPW utility contracts” said DPW Director Jason Mitchell.

This new Unbundling Initiative will consist of a two-phase process to create opportunities for 10 Baltimore-based Small Minority- and Women- Owned businesses to get one-the-job training in Utility Contracts and construction management supports.

On an upcoming water utility construction contract, DPW will use the approved Design Build Alternative Procurement Method to require the prime contractor to train small businesses and to provide them with support. This contract will require that the prime provide training and mentoring to the participating small businesses.

To build the capacity of small businesses, the DPW Unbundling Initiative will seek to:

  • Train local contractors to serve as general contractors with the capacity to serve as the lead or prime contractor on DPW utility contracts.
  • Build and grow the capacity of Baltimore based small businesses by providing on-the-job training.
  • Provide administrative support and safety monitoring.
  • Provide access to bonding and working capital.

During the second phase of the Unbundling initiative, DPW and other City agencies are expected to create appropriately-size contract opportunities to match the capability and capacity of the newly trained general contractors.

DPW plans a series of outreach efforts to reach small business owners who may be eligible to participate in this initiative. Small, local, and minority businesses are encouraged to attend the upcoming Face Time with the Primes, a networking event to learn about opportunities to engage in Baltimore City projects. Face Time with the Primes is scheduled for April 2023. Interested participants may contact DPW’s Office of Boards and Commissions at 410-396-6883.