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Georgia Tech making strides with small businesses

Georgia Tech Director of Small Business Chuck Schadle explains the group’s progress Monday to the Dougherty County Commission.

Georgia Tech Director of Small Business Chuck Schadle explains the group’s progress Monday to the Dougherty County Commission.

ALBANY, Ga. — The head of Georgia Tech’s Small Business Office said that the program is making process when it comes to educating local contractors how to get a shot at government contracts.

Chuck Schadle, director of the office, told the Dougherty County Commission Monday that 67 businesses have reached out for one-on-one procurement contract counseling, 19 had attended contracting classes, and 120 people have attended some type of class since the group was awarded the contract to serve as the county’s small business office July 1.

Since that time, Schadle said that 14 businesses in five counties, including seven from Dougherty County alone, had won 34 government contracts worth $1.3 million.

“Contracting for government bids is sometimes better for small businesses because the government tends to pay and pay on time, at least at the local level,” Schadle said. “But there are some challenges with getting those contracts that can, frankly, be a little daunting for companies that aren’t used to dealing with governments.”

After weighing the future of its Small and Disadvantaged Business Office for months, the commission decided to contract with Georgia Tech on a one-year basis to see if Tech could get increased participation from local contractors in the government bidding process.

Schadle said that since July 1, the number of minority-owned business firms who had become certified to bid on county projects had grown by 33 percent, from 28 on July 1st to 42 firms Monday.

The group offers evening, weekend and lunch-hour classes for businesses interested in driving up their competitive edge on government contracts.

In addition to the county program, Tech also runs the city’s small business program, which is similiar but also has significant differences.

Schadle is set to give an update today to the Albany City Commission at the request of Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard.