Essex County Office of
Small Business Development and Affirmative Action
Hall of Records, Room 449A 465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102

Press Releases


September 02, 2010


 Fourth Session of Free Eight-Week Course Helps Small, Women and Minority-Owned Businesses to Obtain Credentials to Compete for Public Sector Contracts

Newark, NJ Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. joined with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and the Essex County Office of Small Business Development & Affirmative Action to outline some of the successes of the Essex County Bonding Readiness Program during its first year and announce that the fourth session started on Thursday, September 2nd. The Essex County Bonding Initiative is a partnership between Essex County and the Surety & Fidelity Association of America that helps small, women and minority-owned businesses increase their bonding capacity so they are eligible to compete for more and larger government projects.

“The Essex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action is committed to promoting business opportunities for small, women and minority-owned vendors and the Bonding Readiness Program is an example of how we are providing resources and information that will help these vendors start or expand their businesses and compete for government construction projects,” DiVincenzo said. “The Bonding Readiness Program is a unique opportunity for vendors to enhance their knowledge of the government procurement process and network with financial and lending institutions that can help them grow their businesses. We are proud of what has been accomplished during the first year of the program and look forward to building on our success,” he added.

“I am pleased to hear of the success of the Bonding Readiness Program, which empowers individuals to expand their businesses,” Menendez said. “Providing small business with access to capital is an invitation to them to be part of procurement opportunities generated by the County for goods and services. Ultimately, by helping small businesses grow, more jobs can be created,” he noted.

“This program is an example of the Federal and County governments sharing resources to foster business development,” State Senator Teresa Ruiz said. “Through the leadership of our Senator and County Executive, programs like this have made Essex County a model for helping our communities,” she added.

“I am grateful for this program and hope we are able to expand it in the future,” Freeholder Rufus Johnson said. “We need programs like this to spur economic development. We need these small business owners to be able to expand and hire more people,” he added.

The Bonding Readiness Program is a free, eight-week course given by The Surety & Fidelity Association of America that provides small, women and minority business owners with information and resources that help them obtain a bond, bond line or increase their bonding limit. A company’s bonding capacity represents the amount that a bonding or surety company is prepared to put at risk in the bonds that it writes for the construction professional. It is based on the amount of cash, liquid or readily liquidated assets, experience, and track record of the construction professional. Being qualified for larger bonding limits will make enterprises eligible to compete for larger projects. In addition to the surety workshops, participants receive instruction and technical assistance in areas such as project management, job costing, finance and accounting, and one-on-one counseling sessions with surety bond producers. The bond producers are independent agents who outreach, market, and prequalify the contractors for the surety companies. 

“One of the greatest challenges small business owners face in competing for contracts in the public sector is the lack of bonding capacity. This program is helping to increase the pool of qualified contractors and subcontractors in the construction arena, specifically,” said Essex County SBDAA Director Deborah E. Collins, Esq. “This is another ‘first’ for Essex County in ensuring that small, women, and minority business owners have a fair opportunity to compete for contracts,” she added.

“One of the things we are trying to accomplish is reaching out to small businesses to ensure they participate in the government procurement process,” said Samuel Carradine of The Surety & Fidelity Association of America. “Essex County is an example of how well the program is working,” he noted.

During the first three sessions, 51 participants successfully completed the eight-week course. Five participants have been bonded, meaning they have obtained a bond or bond line, or had their bonding limit increased. Seven other participants have been deemed bondable. There are 27 participants registered for the fourth session that will begin tomorrow, September 2nd.

“What was holding me back from growing my company was my bonding capacity. Your company’s ability to bond is what allows you to grow,” said Cindy Malinchak, owner of Environmentally Based Green Building. “The readiness program really makes you look at your company and helps you realize what changes you have to make. I graduated six months ago and it helped me recognize what I needed to improve. I consider Essex County part of the success I’ve experienced,” she noted.

“This course taught me a lot of things and gave me the tools and information I needed to get bonding,” Nelson Carty, Sr., owner of N. Carty and Sons, said. “This helped open opportunities for me to bid on jobs because my bonding capacity is larger,” he added.

Essex County received a $359,300 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to fund the Bonding Readiness Program. The Bonding Initiative utilized the educational workshops and bond readiness components of SFAA’s Model Contractor Development Program that has been successfully implemented throughout the country. For information about this class or upcoming sessions, please call the Essex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action at 973-621-5420.

TheEssex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Actionhas a mission to ensure equal opportunity in the procurement and contracting processes of Essex County through strategic partnerships, outreach, technical assistance, and collaborative partnerships. The Bonding Readiness Program is the latest tool to advance the County’s initiative to make information more accessible and creates an additional avenue for small, women and minority owned businesses to obtain the necessary credentials to place themselves in a better position to compete for contracts.

SFAA is a licensed rating or advisory organization in all states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and has been designated by state insurance departments as a statistical agent for the reporting of fidelity and surety experience.  SFAA plays an active role in diversity nationwide by assisting in educating small and emerging contractors on the bonding process and by providing technical assistance and program resources to state and local governments in the areas of contractor development and bonding support. 

SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested two weeks in advance. Contact Deborah E. Collins, Esq., Director, Small Business Development and Affirmative Action, Hall of Records, Room 449A, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Newark NJ 07102. Telephone: (973) 621-2010. 

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