Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Little Rock

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Airport Business

Business Diversity Program

The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, which governs Clinton National Airport, has long advocated for Small and Diverse Business inclusion within the local economy and has set firm goals to ensure it remains a leader in the region's economic development.

The Commission achieves these goals by implementing two key concepts:

  • Creating an environment that welcomes new ideas, builds partnerships, and cultivates innovation from our partners.
  • By leveling the playing field in accessing business opportunities for all who have the capability and desire to participate.

This program focuses on offering opportunities that may not be given otherwise to disadvantaged and diverse businesses. The Commission strives to ensure that companies who do business with and on our behalf understand the importance of the Business Diversity Program.


 

Our Goals

The Commission is committed to increasing opportunities for diverse companies by including participation goals in all contractual relationships. Our current goals are as follows:

  • Federally funded projects: 12% participation goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) for the 2021-2023 cycle.
  • Concession Contracts: 21% participation goal for Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) for 2022-2024 cycle.
  • Locally funded capital projects & professional services: 19% participation goal for Diverse Companies.

 

Current Programs

There are three major components to the Airport Business Diversity Program. Each is tied to a separate funding source and has its own participation goal, as listed above. The goals are based on anticipated projects, the available pool of qualified Diverse Companies, and the prior period’s Diverse Business participation performance.

 

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program

The DBE Program applies to our federally funded construction projects. The program is funded by the United States Department of Transportation and administered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation per Code of Federal Regulation 49, Part 26. It seeks to eliminate discrimination in awarding federally assisted contracts and helping develop businesses that can compete in the marketplace outside of the DBE program.

Only certified DBE companies may participate in this program.

To qualify for this program, the business owner(s) must meet the Federal standards for a socially and economically disadvantaged person (Section A, Paragraph 1) and own at least 51% of the company. The owner’s personal net worth cannot exceed $1.32 million. Furthermore, the company must meet the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards or annual gross income requirement as based on NAICS Code. The company must be independent of any other company.

 

Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“ACDBE”) program

The ACDBE Program applies to the food & beverages, retail, and advertising sold inside the airport as well as any other goods and services sold to the traveling public, following the Code of Federal Regulation 49, Part 23 for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Only certified ACDBE/DBE companies may participate in this program.

The qualification requirements for this program are similar to the DBE program except that the gross income does not have to meet SBA Size. The company’s owner(s) must meet the federal standards for a socially and economically disadvantaged person and own at least 51% of the company. The owner(s) individual personal net worth cannot exceed $1.32 million. The company must meet the SBA size standards, with annual gross income not to exceed $56.4 million. The company must be independent of any other company.

 

Locally Funded Capital Projects and Professional Services

The Commission funds these projects with self-generated monies. Consequently, we can accept a broader range of certifications. While this category is not federally mandated, the Commission strives to reach this goal.

All Certified Diverse Companies, as defined by the Commission, can participate in this program.

This category includes projects typically funded by our capital budget, and any professional services contract solicitations the Commission may outsource offer these services for federally funded capital projects. Some examples of these services include but are not limited to legal services, website administration, marketing, waste removal, janitorial services, construction management, engineering, architectural services, auditing, lobbying, vending machines, security services, curbside service, valet parking, etc. This program accepts DBE, ACDBE, and any other certification approved by the Commission.


 

What is a Diverse Company?

Generally speaking, certification as a diverse company means that the majority owner(s) (51% or greater ownership and a decision-maker) of the business are of a specific socioeconomic background, gender, race, ethnicity, or disability, depending on the certification. Several organizations certify diverse firms, and some are listed on this page. While many Diverse Businesses do meet the qualifications for a Small Business certification, not all small businesses will qualify as a Diverse Company. The Commission will consider requests for inclusion at its sole discretion.

The Commission defines a Diverse Company or business as any Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) that is certified through the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), or an airport approved certification agency. This definition also includes the Small Business Administration (SBA)'s HUBZone, 8(a), WOSB, VSOB, and SDVOSB programs.

The Commission recognizes current participation in the following certification programs:

 

Certification Agencies

The Commission is not a certifying agency, nor does it have the authority to dispute or override certification decisions. Click on the links below to learn more about the certifying agencies and certification requirements.

The Commission understands that the list provided above is not inclusive of all certifying agencies. We reserve the right to approve or reject certifications from other states or certifying agencies. Commission staff will also assist companies in their efforts to become certified. For more information, contact Procurement Office by email or at 501-372-3439.


 

Good Faith Efforts

While the Commission seeks diverse companies to contract directly partner with, we also encourage companies who do business with us to seek Diverse Companies to partner with. During formal solicitations, the Airport requires companies to complete a Good Faith Efforts (GFE) form to disclose their diversity status or document the measures taken to meet our standard of Diverse Business inclusion. We are available to assist companies in their search for diverse partners and discuss possible inclusion methods.

Note: The Commission cannot act as a “matchmaker” and will only provide guidance and schedule events that allow companies to build working relationships.

The following list of good faith efforts (and benefits of those efforts) is intended to assist non-diverse companies in finding a diverse partner. It is important to have documentation for each step. These are recommendations and should not be considered an exhaustive list:

Companies are expected to send notifications to diverse firms at least 14 days (about 2 weeks) in advance via electronic mail or written notification. This allows the diverse company time to receive, review and respond to the request. Many diverse companies are small firms and cannot be expected to respond instantly: this creates a barrier to participation.

Companies cannot mandate that diverse companies only participate in their solicitation. In some cases, the number of Diverse Companies that perform a particular scope of work may be limited. If a company restricts participation to its solicitation only, this limits the diverse companies’ opportunities.

Companies are expected to assist diverse firms with insurance, bonding, etc. if obtaining those is a barrier for them to participate in the solicitation.

Companies are expected to provide proof of outreach in diverse publications, attend meetings of organizations that cater their membership to Diverse Companies, or perform similar outreach. Many trade organizations focus on Diverse Business owners and specialize in providing resources as well as opportunities for them. Reaching out to these organizations would allow companies to cast a larger net during the recruitment of Diverse Companies

Note: While completing the Good Faith Efforts form is a requirement and emphasis is placed on business inclusion, the lack of a diverse partner may not deem the solicitation non-responsive. The Good Faith Efforts form allows companies a place to document the measures taken to obtain a Diverse partner as well as offer a detailed explanation as to why the diversity goal was not attained.


 

Assistance with Finding Certified Diverse Firms

The Commission has partnered with various organizations to streamline access for those seeking certified firms as partners in upcoming projects. Below are links to directories of certified diverse firms:

Business Diversity Program documents are available for review during the Commission’s normal business hours.  Comments regarding the program may be directed to:

Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission

Attn: DBE and Contract Compliance

One Airport Road, Little Rock, AR 72202.

Email or Phone: (501) 372-3439

All comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration for the future growth of the program.