City to send small business program to Georgia Tech

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany City Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to outsource its small business program to Georgia Tech, in a move they say hope will boost services and access to local vendors trying to gain access to government contracts.

In their pre-meeting briefing Tuesday, commissioners discussed the issue, weighing whether allowing Tech to administer the program would accomplish their goal of increasing participation of small businesses in government contracts.

Opponents of the move say that it does little to address the reasons why small businesses fail to bid on government contracts and that the program itself is just $100,000 worth of window dressing on a bigger problem.

Georgia Tech's Procurement Assistance Program holds classes and provides services to business owners who are interested in a pursuing federal and state government contracts.

Through the partnership with the city, Tech will adopt the city's program and help local small businesses who go through the certification process gain easier access to the bidding process, officials say.

Albany PAC Director Clovia Hamilton told the commission that the Tech program has 11 different specialist centers across the state which have helped 2,700 vendors. In Albany, more than 100 vendors have received assistance through the center, Hamilton has said.

While Tech will manage the day-to-day operations of the program, the city will ultimately retain the policy.