The Contractors Assistance Center wrapped up its first successful class of the Getting Down to Business Program. The 18-week long program took place online from November 2020 and ended in March 2021. On April 13, 2021, the participants celebrated their completion of the program with Acting General Manager Michael Carlin and Mayor London Breed in attendance.
Offering technical assistance, classroom training, marketing support, one-on-one counseling, and tailoring specifically to the needs of small businesses and their projects, the Contractors Assistance Center provides Local Business Enterprises (LBEs) with the tools and support needed to compete for City-funded contracts. And reviewing key areas of understanding and resolving common business issues, such as Bid Preparation, Cost Analysis and Administration, and Contract Performance Management, the Getting Down to Business Program program provided practical solutions about key business operations.
Triston Dion, owner and Chief Estimator of Streamline Drywall, and a participant in the program, shared his experience in the industry and in the Getting Down to Business Program program. Reminiscing on his time in construction for over 20 years, “Starting out is tough… I poured everything I had into my business to stay afloat. I slept in my Jeep just to keep the lights on,” he laughed. “It really tested my mental fortitude. I was bordering on that for a long time. But this is a path that works. This is the type of structure, even for the first year, that a lot of LBEs need.”
Streamline Drywall recently won a bid with San Francisco International Airport (SFO), drywalling one of their new projects connecting the Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 buildings.
Dion continued, “My background is estimating, and stepping into the role of running a company, I can’t speak enough of how beneficial the program has been. Even some of the templates that I used in our management of SFO came from the program. Every class, I walked away with a nugget of valuable information. I’ve learned so much more than any of the other programs I’ve been in.”
Through the Center, the program also covered topics related to contracting, including contractual requirements, estimating, project management, financial management, project software, and other business intangibles.
madeBOS CEO Martha Hernandez, one of the program’s advisors and mentors, described the mindset of the program’s approach as being “intentional about the outcome – exposing [participants], getting them to do things like the scope letter, understanding the exclusions, identifying the pitfalls in contracts…for new businesses, in particular.”
Hernandez goes on, “One of the main goals of the program is to not only help LBEs but also, specifically, Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (WBEs). Our cohort participants were all MBEs and WBEs.”
The next class will begin in the Summer 2021 and is currently in the process of identifying new participants for enrollment.
“What I want to tell anyone looking to be a part of or who is interested in the program is that you’re not alone.” she said. “There is a community who wants you to win. There are people already doing it and doing it well! We have confidence that if you have the basics, the structure and delivery, that you will win. And the program facilitators also make a big difference,’’ she adds with a smile.