Sandy-Michael E. McDonald, Director of the Office of Economic and Small Business Development emphasize to our media outlet the interest in reaching Hispanic business owners and start relationships with the County during the Broward & Beyond Business Conference. Here are his own words:
-La Familia de Broward: What can your office do for the Hispanic community?
-Sandy-Michael E. McDonald: We are asking any of your listeners or followers to come to our offices and we will take the time to walk you through our program. And also learn what business or industry you are in to identifying which of the agencies might me buying their services, goods or materials.
Conferences are good, workshops are good but, in the end, people need to take responsibilities for their growth. We want your population, we want your group, we want your businesses to come in and meet with us so we can find out exactly what they do and tell them how to do it with Broward County.
-LF: What is the percentage of Hispanic businesses working with the County?
-SM: I will say on my certification side, somewhere about 9 to 15%. As a countywide, is certainly close to 20%. But with all the county’s opportunities, we can certainly grow that. Understanding the culture, the diversity that exists in South Florida, specially in Broward, we have room to grow those numbers.
-LF: What are the sectors that are looking for small businesses?
-SM: We are looking for things in infrastructure, in landscaping, construction with all the disciplines such as electrical, mechanical and plumbing. As you know the County has a major program coming up. We are going to be doing 355 million dollars a year, every year for the next 30 years. Spending that kind of money for transportation services and infrastructure and the future of rail, every industry related to any of that, we are going to need more businesses. The County has a Convention Center expansion by 500 square feet and then we are going to build a new flagship hotel. That is over 800-million-dollar project. So, think about it, whatever takes to build the Convention Center and the hotel, the County set aside 30% of those projects that must be spend in small businesses. There is a lot of need of businesses in Broward. Again, we will work with any business, understand what they do and we will look to the last fifteen months to two years and tell them which kind of agency can buy their services.
-LF: There are companies up to five employees or a hundred. Are you looking for something specifically?
-SM: The County buys a lot. We don’t buy everything but we buy a lot. If you look at the hotel construction, we are going to need everything that you can imagine that goes into building the hotel, that is what we need. The fact that we set the goals, make us take a look, even if you want to start a business, come to us. And if you have already a business, come to find out how to place a competitive bid and get some of those opportunities that we hear about today.
-LF: Where should the people go to start this process?
-SM: Come to our offices located in 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room A-680, downtown Ft Lauderdale and first call 954-357-6400 and set an appointment (it can be with me).