January 29, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and Department of Procurement Services Host First Construction Summit for Hundreds of Companies

First-Ever Coordination Among Multiple Government Agencies Saves Time and Money for Businesses; Helps Small, Minority- and Women-Owned Enterprises Bid on Upcoming Projects

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

In an effort to make it easier to do business with the City of Chicago, boost competition and increase participation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee hosted the City of Chicago’s first Construction Summit to provide contractors -- including small, minority- and women-owned firms -- with preliminary details on Building a New Chicago and other contract opportunities to be awarded in 2013 totaling $500 million to $1 billion.

“We are providing an unprecedented amount of resources and information to hundreds of construction contractors and subcontractors to ease participation and increase competition in the bidding process,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “Small, minority- and women-owned companies can determine which upcoming contracts they wish to bid on directly or offer their services as subcontractors to companies that require assistance on larger contracts.”

Chicago, Cook County and Illinois State agencies participated in the summit to provide information to a wide number of firms.  More than 300 people representing hundreds of construction companies, suppliers and manufacturers gathered information on hundreds of construction projects due to be bid in 2013.  These projects are expected to create thousands of jobs.

“One of our key goals is to increase the diversity of the businesses that bid on and earn city contracts,” said Rhee.  “Increasing their access to details in advance will help them bid as primary contractors, but also allow them to consider teaming up with other firms to serve as subcontractors on larger contracts.”

In addition to the government agencies, numerous trade associations, chambers of commerce and business groups participated in the event at Malcolm X College to encourage greater networking of firms of all sizes. 

This announcement is the latest in a series of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel to increase opportunity for MBEs/WBEs. Additional announcements have included the MBE/WBE Mentorship Program, Diversity Business Initiative, the Small Business Initiative, and the Graduation Phase-out Program for MBEs/WBEs.

  • The mentor/protégé program is designed to foster improved economic opportunity for MBE and WBE businesses throughout Chicago by offering five percentage points of MBE or WBE credit for contractors that agree to take on a mentor/protégé relationship with an MBE or WBE firm.
  • The Graduation Phase-out Program allows M/WBEs that have exceeded the program’s size standards to continue to participate for a period of three years to gradually exit the program, with 75 percent credit allowed in year one, 50 percent in year two, and 25 percent in year three.
  • The Small Business Initiative encourages small businesses to participate in City-funded construction projects. The program is exclusive to small businesses and is limited to construction projects that are under $3 million in total cost.
  • The Diversity Credit Program allows private sector firms who also bid on public work to obtain up to five percent M/WBE utilization credit on a City contract for work performed by a certified firm on one or more of the prime’s private sector contracts.