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Contractors Assistance Center Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Contractors Assistance Center?

2. How does the center work?

3. What services does the Center provide?

4. Who does the Center serve?

5. What are the planned activities of the Center?

6. Does the Center work with other organizations that also provide technical assistance to businesses?

7. What are some of the recurring challenges facing small businesses?

8. Why is the Center needed?

9. Where is the Center and what are its hours of operation?

10. How can I contact the Center’s staff?


1. What is the Contractors Assistance Center?
The Contractors Assistance Center (Center) is a free resource that professional service firms, construction companies, vendors and suppliers can use to help establish or grow their business. It is a service for small, local businesses to get the tools and guidance needed to take advantage of the upcoming contracting opportunities created by the billions of dollars in infrastructure spending planned for San Francisco. In addition, the Center is an integral part of the City’s ongoing efforts to support economic, workforce and business development in San Francisco. The SFPUC’s Workforce and Economic Program Services Department (which is responsible for staffing the Center) works closely with other City departments and agencies to support that ongoing economic vitality.

2. How does the Center work?
The Center can tailor its services to the specific needs of the individual business based on an initial consultation and the services can address all phases of a small business’ development. In addition, the Center has a plan room and a database of all the current City contracting opportunities to help small, local businesses find their next opportunity more easily. There is also a regular calendar of classes that will provide small businesses with the technical assistance they need to compete for and perform on City contracting opportunities.

3. What services does the Center provide?
The Center provides the knowledge, real-time information, advice, skills, and state-of-the-art tools needed to help small, local business get access to, compete for, and perform on City contracting opportunities. The Center offers assistance getting certified with different government agencies and finding contracting opportunities that fit your firms experience, expertise and capacity. In addition, the Center offers technical assistance and training, through classroom and one-on-one counseling, on topics like proposal/bid preparation, marketing, cash flow management, invoice preparation, and understanding government procurement requirements.

4. Who does the Center serve?
The Center serves any business, especially small, local businesses, that are interested in City contracting opportunities.

5. What are the planned activities of the Center?
Over the next several years, the Center will assist new and established firms get access to City contracting opportunities more easily, provide technical assistance through classroom workshops or one-on-one trainings, help businesses file applications to be certified with different government programs (e.g. LBE, SBE, DBE, 8A), and find ways to improve small businesses’ access to financing.

6. Does the Center work with other organizations that also provide technical assistance to businesses?
Yes. By design, the Center works collaboratively with other City agencies and government programs as well as community based organizations, non-profits, foundations, the private sector, and trade associations to more readily meet the needs of the small, local businesses that all of these partners seek to serve.

7. What are some of the recurring challenges facing small businesses?
There are many challenges that a small business owner faces in the current economic climate. The Center offers services to small, local businesses to address challenges, such as:

  • Business Operations and Development: Many small, local businesses need help implementing business operations and business development plans that will help manage the business and encourage it to grow. Businesses need assistance identifying new opportunities and accessing pooled business services.
  • Access to Capital: Even in good economic times, financing remains among the top needs for small businesses. As a result, more dedicated and targeted assistance is needed to help small businesses identify and secure financial products.
  • Regulatory Compliance: It is difficult to stay abreast of and comply with increasingly complex local, state, and federal regulatory requirements such as prevailing wage, Local Hire, and subcontractor usage requirements which can carry stiff penalties for failure to comply. Small business owners need assistance to understand and comply with regulatory requirements in a practical, cost-effective way.

8. Why is the Center needed?
The recent recession and current economic environment have created tough times for small businesses. As a result, services to small businesses are more important than ever. The Center and its partners play a critical role helping the City develop new and existing businesses, especially LBEs, to create jobs, economic opportunities, and strengthen neighborhoods.

9. Where is the Center and what are its hours of operation?
The Center is located at 150 Executive Park Blvd, Suite 1300, San Francisco, CA 94134 and it is open 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Monday – Friday.

10. How can I contact the Center’s staff?
Telephone:
(415) 467-1040
Fax: (415) 467-1041
Email: acp@sfwater.org
Website: sfwater.org/acp

Last updated: 7/22/2016 11:48:53 AM