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Our Things We’re Thinking About (™) (TWTA) Blog is intended to not only share information and resources, but primarily to spark civic dialogue and civic education. Just as the blog name implies, what we share are things we at Strong & Starlike are thinking about, discussing, and researching. What is shared is not intended to serve as any type of counseling or legal advice.

I will never forget my first few weeks working as a government employee in business inclusion programming early in my career. My phone seemed to never stop ringing. I was yelled at by a business owner who was not complying with the contract business inclusion requirements so loudly my co-workers could hear her through the phone. One day in my exhaustion I told a business owner “I’m sorry but that is above my pay grade. I’m new and don’t know much about that.” I heard others say it and I honestly didn’t know the answer off the top of my head. The person had been transferred several times that day and was also exhausted and asked if I could at least find the right person to talk to. That, I figured I could do…and I did. That business owner helped me to see that even in my first weeks that I possessed something valuable in knowing who to talk to and even with just that information I had the power to be a gatekeeper. Interactions like that in government exposed me to the types of questions people often ask and filled me with a desire to help people navigate systems I was a part of-especially those related to economic access. So, as you get to know me through these blog posts I will share stories and tips from things I have learned. I will also share things I am thinking about. The first question I want to share an answer to that I have heard from business owners is “so really…why should I get certified?” I have come to see the possibilities and pitfalls of certification. This post will address some possibilities.

1.Opportunities Specifically for Certified Businesses

Across the United States there are programs such as Sheltered Market Programs that allow for an entity to only advertise a contracting opportunity to certified businesses. If you are not certified, you would not get notified of the contracting opportunity. 

2.Bidding Preferences

Like with Sheltered Market Programs, there are some jurisdictions that provide bidding preferences to certified businesses, small businesses, and local businesses. This allows an entity to award a contract opportunity such a business if they are within a certain percentage of the lowest bid or proposal submitted and to be awarded the contract, provided all other requirements are met.

3. Grants, Loans, and Technical Assistance

Some jurisdictions provide grants, loans, and technical assistance to certain small businesses and certified businesses.

For more information on which jurisdictions across the country have programs and efforts like the three mentioned above, please read the book.


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