OKC Uses ARPA Funds to Increase Capacity of Minority Suppliers
Oklahoma City, OK – Minority businesses in Oklahoma City can now receive free assistance through a new Supplier Diversity Program created by The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
The Alliance created the program to help minority entrepreneurs and businesses know about and compete for corporate and government contracts. The long-term goal of the Minority Supplier Diversity Program is to have a wide network of minority-owned businesses in OKC that are able to meet the requirements of larger contracts.
The Alliance will launch the program on July 17 and work through three business support partners: The Urban League of Greater OKC, the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and REI Oklahoma, to help minority suppliers by:
- Facilitating business certifications that would help businesses qualify for new contracts
- Providing mentorship to help business owners identify and respond to contracting
- Providing accounting assistance and access to bonding/loan products
- Helping minority-owned businesses secure larger contracts that have collateral
- Increasing awareness among corporate and government procurement specialists about
the network of local, minority suppliers
“The program is a much-needed step in creating a diverse business ecosystem in Oklahoma City,” said Kenton Tsoodle, president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City. “Historically, minority-owned businesses have often been overlooked and discouraged from contracting opportunities. Barriers continue to exist today that prevent minority-owned businesses from accessing capital, bonding and collateral required by many larger contracts. Additionally, procurement professionals have an interest in including smaller and more diverse suppliers in their bidding process, but no such list exists. We’re proud to stand with our partners to launch the Supplier Diversity Program, work to eliminate barriers and inequities and help our minority businesses grow.”
To qualify, minority businesses must be:
- Located in Oklahoma City
- Minority owned with 51% or more of the ownership with racial background including
Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Black, American Indian and American Alaskan
- Less than 500 full-time equivalent employees
- Founded before March 31, 2021
The partners will support the program by helping minority businesses with bidding opportunities and responses, certifications, registering on supplier databases, contracting and financial preparation. Additionally, each partner will also bring unique services based on their focus and expertise; for example, the Hispanic Chamber will provide bilingual workshops for those who prefer to learn in Spanish. The Urban League will help businesses with accounting services and help prepare financial statements and obtain bonding and loan products. REI Oklahoma will provide additional loan assistance to help meet contract obligations.
The Supplier Diversity Program is administered by the Alliance for Economic Development for Oklahoma City and is funded by the City of Oklahoma City’s allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The program launches July 17th.More information
About The Alliance:
The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City is the economic development entity that coordinates land, incentives and economic tools that help Oklahoma City prosper. In addition to managing several economic entities such as the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority, The Alliance works in collaboration with public and private entities to begin or invigorate development projects. Since 2020, The Alliance has coordinated COVID relief programs for small businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and individuals looking to access business support and improve their career options. The programs are funded through federal ARPA allocations to the City of Oklahoma City.