Get 'em in the Game!
August 10, 2022
With a massive 350 billion dollars of investment on the horizon from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), how do you support small and emerging contractors, often minority or woman owned, working to get their shot at a piece of that pie? Peter Gibbs says it’s by leveraging the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program.
Gibbs, former Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees at the SBA headquarters, was invited to testify before the House Committee on Small Business regarding the importance of the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program. The program provides a path to surety credit for small and emerging contractors who’ve historically had difficulty securing credit using traditional routes. “For example, companies who can’t get a bid bond can’t bid on a project, so they’re left out of the process”, Gibbs says, “The ability to get a bid bond allows them to get in the game and better compete for work funded by the IIJA.”
The Surety Bond Guarantee Program’s track record for getting companies ‘in the game’ is impressive. During its 50-year tenure it’s helped more than 55,000 small businesses access contract work valued at an estimated 150 billion dollars. Gibbs testified to the work that’s been done to enhance the program, including:
- increased contract size bond amount
- increased SBA guarantee, up to 90%, for participating surety companies
- technology improvements
- reduced fees charged to sureties and contractors
But he says more needs to be done, especially in the current economic climate. Gibbs testified he’d like to see more funding for staffing, more investments in technology to improve overall program efficiency, and another increase in contract guarantee amounts. Gibbs also stressed the need for improved marketing efforts, so that agents and principals alike are more aware of this important program and the powerful tools it provides.
Gibbs served in the SBA for more than 30 years, 18 of those in the Office of Surety Guarantees. After exiting his Director role, he leveraged his extensive knowledge and understanding of the small and emerging contractor community and ways the SBA can support them, to launch his own firm, Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions. Merchants partnered with Gibbs and his company in the fall of 2021, working together to open doors for the small and emerging contractor community. For more information on Merchants’ SBA program, our partnership with Peter Gibbs, and how you can participate click here.