“The biggest challenge facing all emerging minority contractor programs is that the management skills necessary to survive do not come quickly and many firms fail before they gain the needed proficiencies,” states Don Shubert, the President of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA).
To address this issue, the Entrepreneurial Center and Women’s Business Center combined forces with The Metropolitan District (MDC) to develop the (EC/WBC) Small Contractor Development Program (SCDP). The program’s success is driven by the combination of the partners’ expertise and resources. The EC/WBC lends the educational acumen while the MDC provides industry contacts and valuable connections. SCDP is open to all small contractors, but focuses on increasing the participation of women and minority-owned businesses in the construction industry.
With an educational focus on developing business management skills, the program seeks to educate business owners about a variety of topics including contract readiness, lean management and lean office, bonding and financing, as well as providing tools and skills on how to follow up with general contracts, marketing help and more. Participants are encouraged to take an in-depth look at their business model and to develop a full understanding of better practices.
The program also helps small contractors develop contacts within the industry. Clinics and academies are held throughout the year and are led by local general contractors in addition to Center advisors. Small matchmaker events are held throughout the year, giving small and general contractors the opportunity to find new partnerships. Participants are also encouraged to attend the CT Business Matchmaker event in June, where 50 – 70 companies and agencies send representatives.
Jerado and Joyce Reynolds found the SCDP to be an invaluable experience that provided their business with opportunity. The husband and wife duo are the owners of Reynolds Welding and Fabrication, a company that designs, produces, and installs metal fabrications, and has extensive experience in manufacturing and fitting structural steel. Not only did they receive technical assistance and in-depth training from the program, but they also made valuable connections through the MDC and walked away with a contract to supply structural steel for the MDC office garage project in Hartford. Their story illustrates that programs like the SCDP can help small contractor businesses find the right track.
Program partners include the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA), and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). For more information please call 860.768.5681.