Los Angeles – Today, Metrolink announced the launch of a Small Business Partnership Program (SBPP), an innovative initiative that helps Southern California’s local small businesses bid more competitively and equitably on the agency’s contracts.
The SBPP helps a wide range of small business enterprises address three areas that have traditionally impeded them from competing for Metrolink contracts: opportunity, capital and capacity. Now, through the program’s collaboration with top organizations in financial services and technical training, Metrolink is equipping these enterprises with the support and tools they need to bid competitively. Once a business completes the SBPP, they are designated “Contract Ready” which allows them to take advantage of special contract opportunities and incentives, such as local preference points, bond and insurance relief, and “net 15” invoicing.
“As we continue to encourage economic growth and equity in the communities we serve, the Small Business Partnership Program is designed to remove potential institutional barriers for small businesses and prepare them to compete for and fulfill Metrolink agency contracts. The program is a win for the small business community, for the local economy and for Metrolink,” said Metrolink Board Chair and Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian.
Small businesses—including Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), micro-businesses and non-profit companies—headquartered in one of the six Metrolink services area, can take advantage of Metrolink’s Small Business Partnership Program (i.e., Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and North San Diego).
Metrolink has partnered with small business lender Lendistry and training center, The Center by Lendistry, to support small businesses in the areas of access to capital and expanding capacity. With its experience in providing economic opportunities and progressive growth for small business borrowers and their communities, Lendistry can help eligible program participants to secure long-term, low-cost capital.
To assist in technical training that expands capacity, The Center by Lendistry will offer free access to a team of experts from nonprofits, business and government worlds to help advise underserved small businesses on funding, planning, marketing, technology and more.
“We are thrilled to partner with Metrolink and contribute to the long-term growth and vitality of the small business community with this innovative program that equips them with the critical tools they need for success,” said Constance Anderson, President, The Center by Lendistry.
“Small businesses make up half of the state’s workforce, so we are committed to support the long-term growth and success of the small business community in the Southern California region, particularly those businesses that have been hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re excited how the program can help advance opportunities for these enterprises. Additionally, Metrolink will benefit from a larger pool of competing companies that can bring fresh new ideas and perspectives to our organization.” said Arnold Hackett, Metrolink’s Interim CEO.
Already, the program has received sentiments of support from small business advocates in the community.
“As a small business advocate whose enterprise is instrumental in helping small business owners succeed in growing their businesses and gaining significant contracts, I am excited about the opportunities for growth the Metrolink Small Business Partnership Program offers,” said Schenae Rourk, Principal at Redwood Resources, a strategic procurement, diversity and inclusion consulting firm serving California small businesses. “I know I speak for many of us in the small business community in that we are grateful Metrolink has recognized the need to level the playing field by helping us compete for key transportation contracts, and contribute to the recovery, growth and sustainability of our local economy.”
The Small Business Partnership Program represents Metrolink’s commitment to championing a diverse and inclusive workforce and supporting the “triple bottom line”—which places equal emphasis on social equity and environmental concerns as for the economic bottom line.
“We are excited to leverage the innovation that a diverse pool of small business enterprises brings to the table so they can help us build a safe and reliable rail system that connects our region to employment, education, family, and fun,” said Paul Krekorian, Metrolink Board Member and Los Angeles City Council Member. "This is another important step forward in creating jobs and economic opportunity in Southern California."
The Small Business Partnership Program demonstrates Metrolink’s long-term strategy and commitment to support small business growth. To ensure its sustainability, the program is supported by a board-approved policy, which has been integrated into the agency’s procurement policy and procedures. Metrolink is planning small business procurement events over the upcoming months to educate business owners about the program and discuss opportunities on the horizon.
For more information on how to take advantage of the program benefits visit the SBPP website.
ABOUT METROLINK (metrolinktrains.com)
Metrolink is Southern California's passenger rail service enabling people to connect to their jobs and explore all that the region has to offer. Prior to the pandemic, Metrolink has nearly 12 million annual boardings from people who choose to ride the train to avoid gridlock, removing an estimated 9.3 million vehicles from the roads and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 130,000 metric tons each year. Metrolink is the largest commuter rail agency in California and the third largest in the United States operating seven lines along a 538-mile network that travels across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.