Most of the funds from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress will be coming through public projects for roads, bridges, schools, small business loans, and so on.
Since the funds are being channelled governmental bodies, savvy business owners have to ready themselves to access those opportunities.
Three officials from DeKalb County Government and School System will discuss their requirements for their vendors and offer tips on qualification and bidding requirements.
Sharon Walker, senior contract compliance officer with DeKalb County Contract & Cmpliance Department, Roderick Wallace, executive director of DeKalb Micro Enterprise Institute, and Phyllis Jones, associate Buyer, DeKalb County Schools System Purchasing Department will participate on a panel – Tapping into the Stimulus Funds: What I Should Know and How to do Business With DeKalb County Government & Schools.
In her position, Walker assists small business owners in becoming certified as Local Small Business Enterprises, Woman Business Enterprises and Minority Business Enterprises so that they can qualify to bid on county contracts.
Walker also takes part in outreach and training events designed to increase Local Small Business Enterprise participation in the County procurement process.
Walker, who has been with the DeKalb County for seven years, says the county buys everything from office supplies to police uniforms and weapons to fire trucks and ambulances.
Once a business owner is certified as a Local Small Business (LSB) Enterprise, she said he can bid on county contracts that require a 20 percent minimum LSBE participation.
Her department also offers free clinics twice a month on second and fourth Tuesdays monthly that teach business owners all they need to know about doing business with DeKalb County.
She said prime contractors who do business with local and women enterprises are awarded preferential points ranging from five to 20 percent of their contracts.
“We do business with contractors, builders, plumbers, professional services, we do business with everybody; automobile dealers, buying vehicles,” she said.
Walker holds a B.A. Degree in Communications from Governors State University.
The DeKalb Microenterprise Institute trains entrepreneurs to grow their business and access loans.
Its programs include a comprehensive 10-week entrepreneurial training program for new and existing microenterprise business owners.
Since its inception in 2004, Wallace said the institute has graduated more than 435 entrepreneurs.
He says many graduates have utilized the training to start successful enterprises and fine tune existing businesses.
Wallace also chairs DeKalb Microenterprise Alliance, which is made up of more than 30 community entities, primarily focused on the strategic economic direction of DeKalb County’s small business community.
During the panel discussion, Wallace will discuss stimulus funds that will be challenged thrugh the Small Business Administration for loans to ailing business.
He has 14 years of corporate financial experience, including holding key positions with Bank of America, Citibank and the Wall Street firms Paine Webber and Prudential Bache Securities.
He also has a wealth of business development experience including his 6 years operating R. Wallace Enterprises, his own business development and training firm.
He has a Bachelors of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Jones began her career with DeKalb County School System in 1994 with the Staff Services Department before moving to the Finance/Purchasing Department in 1997 as a Purchasing Clerk. She has been associate buyer since 2007 and is well versed in Public Sector Procurement ranging from purchase orders to purchasing cards and solicitations. Phyllis Jones is a member of the
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing.
She will discuss the school systems requirements and procedures for doing business.
Jones is a graduate of the DeKalb County Schools and worked in buying/bookkeeping for a family owned business in Stone Mountain, before joining the school system.
The panel will be at 1 p.m. on the Main Stage in front of Macy’s.