(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today lauded the creation of a groundbreaking “whole-of-government” partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This partnership will ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses have the opportunity to compete for and win federal contracts generated by the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“Federal contracting is one of the most reliable paths to the middle class for minorities, women, and other underserved entrepreneurs, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a historic opportunity to invest in those communities,” Cardin said. “I applaud the Biden Administration for implementing innovative solutions to empower federal contractors in underserved communities to compete for and win federal contracts. We must ensure that all communities are given the opportunity to participate in the rebuilding in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure from the conception phase projects through completion.”

The agencies entered Memorandums of Understanding to create a holistic network of federal government programming and support that will ensure that underserved small businesses are “contract ready.”

The partnership reflects Cardin’s effort to ensure that minorities and other underserved entrepreneurs have the resources they need to take advantage of the opportunities created by IIJA. Cardin secured the inclusion of his bipartisan legislation to expand and make permanent the MBDA in the IIJA. The MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses.

In March, Cardin participated in an “infrastructure roundtable” hosted by the Maryland MBDA Business Center. The roundtable provided an opportunity for minority contractors across Maryland to learn about the opportunities that will be created by the IIJA, as well as the support available through the MBDA, DOT, SBA and other agencies. The new partnership announced by the administration will use a similar programming model to inform underserved entrepreneurs in communities across the country about the federal contracting opportunities created by the law, opportunity to learn how businesses can take advantage of them.