CTA Launches New Building Small Businesses (BSB) Program


CTA Launches New Building Small Businesses (BSB) Program

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), in partnership with
Ascend HUB Interactive (HI), announce the official launch of the
CTA Building Small Businesses (BSB) Program, an innovative
resource model and initiative designed to increase local small business participation in large-scale, government capital improvement projects. The BSB Program is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by the CTA to bring equity and inclusion to all aspects of its operations.

“More than just buses and trains moving about the city, public
transit is the equity equalizer for everyone, providing affordable
access to jobs, schools, and vital resources – regardless of one’s
background or circumstances,” said CTA President Dorval R.
Carter, Jr. “The Building Small Businesses Program allows us to
further extend the benefits of public transit to the communities we
serve by providing the tools and resources small, minority-owned
businesses need to properly and successfully compete for CTA and other large-scale contracting opportunities that are traditionally out of their reach.”

The BSB Program was developed to provide financial guidance
to small businesses and other Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) by offering direct loan placement and other supports so they can demonstrate the up-front capital needed to compete on large-scale transportation construction and capital programs.

For some small businesses, working on a large construction
project requires resources that many firms don’t have, including
cash flow that can allow them to purchase materials ahead of being reimbursed, access to loans and other forms of credit, insurance for larger jobs, and access to IT and administrative supports. Without these tools, it can be impossible for many Chicago area small businesses to participate in construction projects.

The BSB Program was officially launched at a networking and
informational event on Thursday, July 21, where more than 60 local firms attended to learn about the BSB Program and also hear from invited guest speakers including, Nuria Fernandez the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and Shelby Scales the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Piloted in 2019 under the Red and Purple Modernization
program Phase One, the BSB Program proved to be quite successful, with more than 100 Chicago area small businesses having participated in the program, of which 20 received $5.6 million in financing, which is vital for building the capacity to be ready to bid for sub-contract work on CTA projects, including becoming loanready to build their business.


The program consists of free capacity-building workshops for
small businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) or that are interested in becoming DBE-certified.

For more information about the project, contact the CTA’s
Diversity Department by emailing diversity@transitchicago.com or
calling (312) 681-2600.

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