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Rebuid Ready initiative helps minority and women-owned businesses get city contracts

Robin Miller of the Philadelphia-based Miller Design Group got the contract to design the lighting for the $4 million Ziehler Playground because of a program that launched in 2019 called Rebuild Ready. Created by Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, the program provides administrative and technical support to minority and women-owned small businesses as part of his signature Rebuild initiative — a massive $425 million public works program funded by the city’s tax on sugary beverages. Miller is eager to put her talents to work for her hometown, she said.

Timothy Roundtree, Rebuild’s deputy director of diversity and inclusion, said the biggest hurdles for Black and brown business contractors seeking city contracts include financial planning and navigating the procurement process. “We want to see the majority, if not all in the Rebuild Ready program, to get contract opportunities that they ... historically would not have gotten if they didn’t seek this type of training and this kind of assistance,” Roundtree said. “We can use this program to help the city overall develop a stronger pipeline.”

Over three months, the program trains small businesses to have all the skills to compete for public works contracts. The training focuses on bidding on Rebuild projects, getting proper certifications to be recognized as a minority/woman business enterprise, bonding and insurance, financing, and cash-flow management. It also offers additional technical assistance such as blueprint reading, project management, and contractor qualification application assistance. It is a once-a-week virtual class over three months with 24 workshops and an email toolkit provided to all businesses. It also features a three-part marketing webinar about creating a website, promoting through social media, and creating ads.