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Small businesses increase threefold at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) has increased the number of certified small business enterprises (SBEs) operating at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan, USA, by more than 300% in less than a year.

In July 2015, the authority worked with 80 SBEs but by March 2016, that number had increased to nearly 340. This success has largely been attributed to the procurement departments cross-certification of 106 disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) as SBEs, providing them with access to additional opportunities that would not have been within their reach a year ago.

Thomas Naughton, CEO of WCAA, said, “The federal government encourages airports to support and maximize DBE opportunities, so our procurement team took a creative, outside-the-box approach and exceeded expectations. We shifted our thinking from meeting targets to breaking down barriers.”

Samuel Nouhan, vice president of procurement, WCAA, said, “We took a three-pronged approach to modify our program. Next week, our team will host the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Great Lakes Regional Forum at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. During that conference, we’ll share with the participants how we enhanced our procurement process and procedures. Hopefully, we can inspire others and increase opportunities throughout the region.”

The Great Lakes Regional Forum will be held on April 20-21, 2016, and will bring together airport operators, airline executives, government officials and contractors to discuss how disadvantaged businesses can succeed in an airport environment.

Leslie Proll, director of the Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR), US Department of Transportation, will deliver the keynote address on April 21. Her office enforces civil rights and labor laws, and oversees the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.

April 19, 2016


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