LA Backs Minority, Women, and Veteran Bonding Program

LA city, county, and metro will fund program providing technical assistance, training, project completion support, and networking.

Source : Josh Olalde, Unsplash

June 13, 2022

Author : Patty Allen and Alex Bustillos

A program meant to help expand opportunities for small businesses, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, and disabled veteran-owned businesses is expanding into Los Angeles county.

The Contractor Development and Bonding Program or CDABP, aims to assist small and diverse contractors in bidding and securing work on infrastructure development and other publicly funded construction projects. It’s new operations in LA will be financed by the shared resource/shared cost model between the city of Los Angeles, L.A. Metro, and Los Angeles County.

CDABP was founded by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services in 1997 in San Francisco. Later, it was moved to Oakland before expanding to Southern California in 2005. The company has extensive experience in public-sector contracting and issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The program provides free bonding assistance, contract finance, technical support, education, training, and other services to small, minority-owned, women-owned, and disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Merriwether & Williams recently launched, a CDABP website that provides outreach and support services. The goal is to assist small contractors in gaining access to billions of dollars in infrastructure construction, which has seen a huge surge since the adoption of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Over the last 25-years, the program's services have resulted in over 1,000 bid bonds supporting over $1 billion in bids.

According to Ingrid Merriwether, CEO of the San Francisco-based company, this resulted in more than $300 million in contracts being awarded to underrepresented firms and a total cost reduction to taxpayers of more than $20 million due to CDABP-assisted businesses underbidding and receiving contracts.

"We need to break down the barriers that have prevented many small and diverse groups from accessing public contracts," Merriwether said. "This is an inclusionary program to build a stronger region."

The company helps underrepresented groups secure bonds by providing collateral guarantees that enable them to bid and qualify for contracts. They help bridge the cash-flow gap between the initial cost of starting work and the later receipt of progress payments. They also offer contractor support services, including business-specific technical assistance, training, project completion support, and networking.

KPA Constructors, a Black-owned Pasadena firm specializing in LA Metro projects, turned to CDABP for bonding insurance to ensure they could undertake a $3.7 million infrastructure project in Los Angeles.

Contractor News previously covered how Los Angeles SkyRail Express (LASRE) has taken a significant step forward in its commitment to diversity and opportunity in the transportation industry. LASRE, a consortium of transportation, construction, engineering, finance, and technology firms, is collaborating with 33 disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs).

In another previous reportwe here at the Contractor News team highlighted LA County's effort to create opportunities for LGBTQ-owned businesses through the county's Community Business Enterprise (CBE) certification program. 

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Category : Disabled Veteran Businesses Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Minority Business Enterprises Minority Women Business Enterprises Veteran Business Women Business Enterprises Investment in Infrastructure Local Government

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