I am a large MBE bidding on a contract that has an MBE sub-contracting requirement. My initial thought was that I was the MBE prime and could satisfy the requirement. I was WRONG!

I needed a sub-contracting plan that showed that as the prime I was inviting other MBE firms to perform a portion of the work. This was an interesting position for my firm to be in because we were used to being the sub and in this case, we needed to find a sub.

I started looking at the budget to identify the required dollar percentage of the contract that needed to be subcontracted. Then I thought, I want to exceed the requirement and I want to position this sub-contractor as a protégée rather than a sub and help them gain experience, not just a dollar portion of the contract.

I reviewed the statement of work and looked at creative ways to “cut” out a piece of the work so that the sub contracted work could stand alone as a mini contract for my sub and that there would be clear lines between my company and the sub in the operations and costs.

I proposed a solution to our VP of Operations, went to the agency website to identify potential sub-contractors and put out a “bid” for this portion of the work. To my surprise, I had more companies respond than I had expected and after reviewing capabilities we chose our partner for the contract.

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