DOT launches initiative to link small business to private capital investors

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) announced it had launched a new initiative to connect small businesses to private capital investors.

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Called the U.S. DOT Connect to Capital, the program is part of a new comprehensive Access to Capital Initiative designed to help small businesses increase their access to investors in capital. Connect to Capital is an online portal, officials said, that serves as a database of Small Disadvantaged Businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and capital investors licensed by the SBA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. The database links small businesses seeking to attract investment with companies looking to making capital investments.

“U.S. DOT Connect to Capital provides users with a comprehensive platform to help small and disadvantaged businesses grow through private equity,” OSDBU’s Acting Director Tyra Redus said. “It is a mutually beneficial resource for small businesses and for investors because of its national scope which decreases barriers to information on both sides and facilitates direct interaction. U.S. DOT Connect to Capital augments the Connections MarketPlace by making it possible for small businesses to have real-time interaction with each other and with private investors.”

Officials said accessing capital is a barrier to building capacity and increasing SBDs/DBEs participation in federally funded contracts. The initiative and the new platform are designed to assist those entities through information, awareness and understanding, officials said.

The Connect to Capital program will also include direct interactions with OSDBU’s Small Business Transportation Resource Centers across the country. Those centers provide businesses with market research, training, certification and procurement technical assistance, free of charge.

“We’re excited about the launch of the U.S. DOT Connect to Capital virtual platform. As an active investor in several Transportation industry companies, we look forward to participating and finding new opportunities to provide capital solutions to disadvantaged businesses,” Sengal Selassi, CEO and Founder of Brightwood Capital Advisors, LLC. , said. “U.S. DOT Connect to Capital will allow users to do that in real time.”