Pembroke - State Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson hosted a roundtable discussion Friday with representatives from small and minority-owned businesses in Robeson County that have worked as contractors and subcontractors for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Held at the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship Incubator at UNC Pembroke, the discussion focused on the work of small and minority-owned businesses and how the McCrory administration and transportation department are helping these businesses continue to be successful.
"Small businesses make a critical contribution to both transportation and economic development in North Carolina," Transportation Secretary Tennyson said. "Governor Pat McCrory has made it clear that empowering small and minority-owned business is a top priority of his administration because they are key to our state's success. North Carolina has many resources available to help these businesses grow and thrive, and we will continue to strengthen our existing partnerships and build awareness of the many opportunities that are available in the transportation industry."
NCDOT supports the inclusion of small businesses by setting aside construction contracts that can only be bid on by small contractors, and by establishing goals for the participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses on state funded and federally funded projects. In addition, contractors bidding on projects are required to demonstrate a good faith effort to find and subcontract with these businesses.
The department also offers minority-owned and women-owned small businesses in the highway construction industry financial assistance through its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Program. More than $300,000 is currently available through the program, and eligible firms may be reimbursed for expenses including business management consulting, staff training and development, accounting services and membership in industry organizations.
Helping small businesses has also been a significant focus of Governor Pat McCrory. Tax reform instituted under his leadership has lowered personal and business tax rates, and by paying off $2.5 billion in debt for unemployment insurance the state has saved businesses $760 million in taxes and fees. About 300,000 jobs have been created in the state since 2013, and North Carolina currently ranks 6th in the nation for most added jobs.
Half of North Carolina's private workforce - 1.6 million workers - are employed by the state's 833,000 small businesses, and small businesses account for 82 percent of the jobs in North Carolina's construction industry.
Businesses participating in the roundtable included:
Anderson Engineering & Associates PA
From the Ground Up Construction & Developments
Locklear Contracting Inc.
Neal Musslewhite Construction
Porter Scientific Inc.
Purpose Driven Seeding & Mulching Inc.
Ricky Locklear Construction Inc.
YTO ETA Solutions