ADOT switches to virtual meetings to help small businesses

Format helps continue support for disadvantaged business enterprises

PHOENIX – The current public health situation has transformed how the Arizona Department of Transportation educates and supports disadvantaged and small businesses seeking federally assisted contracts, with virtual sessions replacing traditional meetings.

“We continue in creative ways to serve our customers relentlessly,” said Kent Lane, small business and workforce development officer with ADOT’s Business and Compliance Office. 

Companies participating in ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program must be owned by individuals from socially and economically disadvantaged groups, such as women and minorities.

Regular ADOT offerings for disadvantaged business enterprises, such as a 21-week Business Development Program and counseling for individual businesses, are now being done virtually for all. Previously, online participation was available only for businesses outside Maricopa County.

The online format also holds promise for educational conferences, project opportunity expos, panel discussions and other gatherings. For example, a recent virtual Small Business Town Hall had Arizona Commerce Authority staff educating 31 disadvantaged business enterprises and small businesses about current and upcoming funding along with other resources available due to COVID-19.

The DBE Supportive Services team also frequently sends e-newsletters and emails about available resources, webinars and networking opportunities offered by ADOT and community partners.

For more information about ADOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, please visit azdot.gov/dbe