“I am Cora Williams, President/CEO and Founder of Ideal Electrical Supply (T/A Ideal Electric). Ideal Electric was founded and incorporated in the District of Columbia 30 years ago. Our headquarters and warehouse are located in northeast DC, Ward 5. I tell my staff constantly that we are very blessed to still be here, as it takes more than hard work to be successful. Additionally, we must have strong community, customer, vendor and employee relationships. District government agencies (including DSLBD and Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie) have always made themselves available to discuss a wide variety of issues (the good, the bad and the ugly). This continued communication has been instrumental and extremely beneficial to the growth of our firm.”
"My name is Socrates A. Cala', and along with my brother, Roman A. Cala,' we own a District-based CBE business called 'The CALPRO Group. We have enjoyed doing business in the District, neighboring areas, and internationally for over 30 years. Our family-owned meeting planning firm produces tradeshows, conferences, meetings, and special events and offers security services, staffing services, and entertainment services, amongst many other hospitality industry services. After the devastating halt that the COVID-19 pandemic took on our hospitality business in 2020, we found ourselves immediately pivoting to provide and add other relevant services to keep our over 80% DC resident staff force employed. Previous positive and successful coaching that DSLBD and their technical arm PTAC provided our company helped lay the groundwork to launch these new services. We added services to our wheelhouse. Due to the relevant adjustments and innovative support programs that DSLBD has continued to cultivate, we have again successfully participated in the DC Government market with our current and pivoted services. We are looking forward to using the "Green Book" as we have done in the past to flush out opportunities that our current services can participate in and also inject our pivoted services. Family is important to us, as brothers, and the culture of our business. We definitely feel that the Mayor Muriel Bowser's Administration, Director Kristi Whitfield, and the DSLBD team, and the District business community that they support are all part of our true family. Thank you for all your continued hard work to make sure that our small businesses have the resources and the tools to participate in all DC opportunities."
"The CBE program has been a real benefit to me. Further, DSLBD has provided much mentorship and training in understanding the complexities involved with preparing my business to be qualified for and useful to the contracting opportunities and the businesses who have contracts and need CBE participation. As the owner and operator of several small businesses located in multiple Wards (2,5,6 and 7) in the District, it has been a great relief to have the DSLBD support and the CBE Certification Program. Aside from being certified and enhancing our direct bids, the certification process and training have helped build a foundation to grow our opportunities and achieve credibility without denying such an opportunity. The support and experience mentoring have been a welcome breath of fresh air as their aim is our success – it shows in their follow-through and in the continued work to assist us in getting recognition and awards!"
"Plum Good LLC sells unique blends of spices, herbs, and teas. We became a District of Columbia Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) five years ago and there has been no looking back. With technical assistance and overall business support from the staff at DSLBD, our company has grown from a one-woman Ward 8 Farmer's Market stall to hiring three employees living East of the River. The consistent information on CBE and Made in DC merchant workshops and opportunities have bolstered our skills, networking, and funding sources. We were awarded a concession at the DC Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA), and recipients of a Dream Grant in Fiscal Year 2018. With the funds it provided, we purchased equipment to make Hot Pops (our original spicy popcorn) for customers. Plum Good is the only concession at the Arena where you can buy a salad. We are dedicated to providing healthy food alternatives in our community. Post COVID-19, we've made a pivot to expand our e-commerce platform at www.tasteplumgood.com. This strategy employs social media marketing tips from DSLBD's Innovation & Equitable Development Division series and is making a beneficial difference in our work to create new streams of income."
"Becoming a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) with the District was a big game-changer for us as a small company. Over the past four years, our revenue has increased by over 400%, primarily driven off by CBE-based opportunities with the District Government. The work that DSLBD does is critical to ensuring that District tax dollars are being spent with small business owners in the District. The CBE program has allowed us to grow and develop so that we can compete for more opportunities across the country. For any DC-based business owners out there who are interested in pursuing government contracts, I highly recommend applying for the CBE program and taking advantage of DSLBD's various workshops."
"In 2020, we were awarded a Dream Grant, provided by DSLBD. This funding allowed us to make decisions about purchases and staffing that were not rooted in financial fear. We were able to hire new contractors, acquire new tools and software, and increase our working capacity. Last year, with the help of our PTAC Specialist, we were also able to successfully get on the DC Supply schedule. And this year, we received assistance with contract research, and marketing to DC agencies, that resulted in our first BPA contract award."
"It has always been my belief that the certified local business status is a marketplace designation, not a business definition. That said, the foundation upon which my business stands and many more like mine, is the CBE program. The Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program has been an incubator for local business innovation, a conduit for leveling the playing field, and a tool for job creation for thousands of DC residents. While laser-focused on customer service and value-based contracting, the CBE program has enabled local businesses to develop the requisite skills, experience, and core competencies required to compete for and win substantive local business opportunities effectively. As local contractors, CBEs develop, socialize, and leverage crucial marketplace intelligence, and recruit, train, and employ highly educated and skilled local talent. This intellectual capital and talent are exported nationally and, often, globally. DigiDoc has been a Certified Business Enterprise firm in the District since 2000. The program has allowed our organization to build an extensive professional network, develop specific marketplace skills, enhance, elevate performance, and leverage local talent while generating revenue. Also, the opportunity to contract and partner with non-CBE Prime contractors has enabled DigiDoc to expand beyond local markets and develop a national footprint in which we have reciprocal relationships, whereby the same prime contractor is now the subcontractor to us. The opportunities afforded by the CBE program allow local CBEs to demonstrate equivalent on time and on budget performance while showcasing flexibility and innovation. The DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) team has always shown a willingness to support DigiDoc as a local DC-based firm through intentional, sustained engagement and active collaboration to create an overall local business ecosystem that enables us all to compete on a level playing field."
"The main thing I have to say about DSLBD – and the people who lead the agency and its programs – is that they want you and your business to succeed. In everything they do – from funding programs that uplift small businesses in marginalized communities, to providing a variety of support and advisory services, and to inviting input from the audiences served, DSLBD displays understanding and openness to collaborating with the people it helps. Every person I have ever dealt with at DSLBD has provided excellent and respectful service – from walking me through Haul Masters’ CBE application process to supporting me in applying for various grants and opportunities. Not every government agency welcomes your phone calls, remembers your name, and treats you like a valued client. At DSLBD, that is the rule, not the exception."
"As a relatively new CBE which provides training and website accessibility testing services, I have been impressed with the current staff at DLSBD. Whenever I have a call or send an email, I am responded to with accurate information quickly. The team has always exhibited patience, empathy, and an understanding that this is all very new to many of us new entrepreneurs. I have participated in many DSLBD training workshops, and the DC PTAC - CBE Speak Series, and every instructor, including Ariel Giles, has been outstanding. The courses have been timely, productive, and very informative. DSLBD has helped me to secure business, respond to RFPs, and win business! The DSLBD Small Biz Quarterly is also a welcomed resource to small businesses! As a small business owner, I am a sponge for information that will help me grow my business, especially during this turbulent and chaotic time. Being a CBE has also helped me to win business with other companies as the certification validates you as a business and gives you credibility. Results One LLC received one of its first contracts as a subcontractor to a large CBE due to being a CBE! This opportunity gave us the much-needed past performance that so many small businesses need. The Green Book has also helped me identify agencies with training and professional development budgets. As a result, I have had the benefit of holding several meetings with some of the agencies! DSLBD, under the leadership of Director Kristi Whitfield, has "taken on the challenge of identifying and implementing new ways to help small businesses in DC to have their fair shot at opportunities." I am thrilled with all of her work on the new reforms to the CBE Law that, as Director Whitfield says, "will keep local dollars local." l am very excited about the impact this reform may potentially have on my small business."
"Government contract opportunities are more important now than ever before for small businesses. An agency like DSLBD plays a vital role in helping small local businesses access opportunities. I appreciate having the ability to speak to someone at DSLBD to discuss an agency's contracting needs. Ms. Whitfield and Mr. Edwards are spearheading positive changes for small businesses in the city. DC is a wonderful city to start and build a business. Mayor Bowser has stated that small businesses are the lifeblood of the city. DC provides many opportunities that enable small businesses to grow through contracting. It takes hard work to create success in business and contracting requires a degree of patience. You must familiarize yourself with the agencies in the city and their contracting staff. Start by researching how your business can benefit an agency."