Wednesday I convened a public oversight roundtable to review and
evaluate the District’s Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program,
the goal of which is to connect small & local businesses to
D.C. government contracting opportunities. In order to make sure
the CBE program is having its desired effect, the Council passed a
law in 2005 requiring the Department of Small and Local Business
Development (DSLBD) to submit a report every three years on the
effectiveness of the CBE program. However, DSLBD has never actually
produced the report and I have continued to push the agency to do
Over the summer, I held a series of Business Engagement Forums in
each of the District's eight wards, engaging small business owners
and aspiring entrepreneurs across the District. One consistent
message I heard was that business owners want reassurance that the
CBE Program is working for them. There are some very positive
indicators about the program, since 2015, the District has reported
record spending for businesses under the CBE Program and during
that time the District has set a new record high number of CBEs,
over 1,600. However, without a comprehensive assessment and
evaluation of the CBE Program, it remains to be seen, if the
program is in fact living up to its goal to connect small, local,
and disadvantaged businesses with contracting and procurement
Small and local businesses contribute to the District of Columbia
by bringing employment opportunities and innovation to our
communities. They are the driving force of our economy. We must
ensure that the District’s Certified Business Enterprise program is
fulfilling its responsibilities to our businesses and
residents. The changing economic environment in our city
clearly shows that the cost of not evaluating the CBE program may
be detrimental to our small businesses and residents. As Chair of
the Committee on Business and Economic Development, I am committed
to ensuring that all District of Columbia residents and businesses
have equal opportunity to be a part of the economic prosperity in
our great city.
The Local Communities Having Opportunities to Promote
Equity (H.O.P.E.) Grant Fund Establishment Act of 2018 would establish
the HOPE fund to be used to fund community priorities
(including public safety initiatives, small business
development, and capacity building initiatives) within
designated qualified opportunity zones. As introduced, this
legislation establishes an initial investment of $450,000 in
seed funding and will be funded on an ongoing basis by
directing 10% of enforcement penalties collected by the D.C.
Department of Small and Local Business Development and
directing .1% of sales taxes from designated qualified
opportunity zones to the fund.
The Small Business Bonding Program Establishment
Amendment Act of 2018 establishes a
program within the Department of Small and Local Business
Development to provide training and technical assistance to
eligible business owners to increase their bonding capacity.
District of Columbia law requires contractors to obtain a
performance and payment bond for certain contracts.
Contractors work with sureties to ensure they are qualified to
enter into the contract, often having their credit, capacity,
financial standing, and character reviewed through a rigorous
underwriting process. This legislation recognizes that while
many Small Business Enterprises are more than capable of doing
the work, many have historically struggled to provide the
financial resources necessary to secure bonding or to increase
their bonding limits to compete for higher dollar contracts.
Kenyan in the
McDuffie attended the Grand Opening of the Village Cafe located at
1273 5th St NE. Among other resources, the team behind the Village
Cafe received support from the D.C. Department of Local and Small
Business Development (DSLBD) to start their new business. Just like
Councilmember McDuffie, the founders, Kevon King, Ryan Williams,
and Mahammad Mangum, are natives of Washington, D.C. and graduated
from Wilson High School.
Schools Announces Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Hearing
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) will convene a public
budget hearing on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 from 6:00 - 8:00pm at
Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School, 704
26th St NE, Washington, DC 20002. The purpose of the hearing is to
gather input from the public about the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020
(School Year 2019-2020) budget.
Members of the public are invited to provide testimony at the
hearing. Individuals or groups wishing to testify should register
online at http://bit.ly/DCPS2018BudgetHearing.
Testimony will be limited to three minutes during the hearing.
Witnesses should bring five (5) copies of their documentation,
including a written copy of their testimony and any supplemental
information. All documents will be included as part of the official
record. Testimony sign-up will remain open until Monday, November 5
at 3 pm For questions or concerns, please contact the DCPS School
Funding Team at (202) 442-5112 or email@example.com.
Early Voting Has
Begun in D.C.
the information below on early voting from the voter guide
published by the D.C. Board of Elections.