City extends helping hand to small businesses that might otherwise get overlooked

Justin Udo
July 20, 2019 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The City of Philadelphia is working to make sure some of its special projects give all Philadelphians a chance to get to work.

“Rebuild” is the city’s initiative to revitalize parks, recreation centers and libraries.

“Especially in neighborhoods that haven't had investment, sometimes for generations,” said executive director Nicole Westerman.

She says they want the work being done on those sites to reflect the city, and provide opportunities to those who need them.

“We're looking for Rebuild to provide an opportunity for small, diverse, Philadelphia businesses to grow and become more sustainable,” she explained.

For the last 12 years, Lou Rodriguez has worked as president and CEO of his engineering and consulting firm.

Related: City to unveil long-awaited Rebuild project aimed at diversifying local unions

He says a lot of times little guys like him are relegated to subcontracting jobs, something that keeps them from getting ahead.

But Rebuild is helping them, as they work to help reshape neighborhoods.

“Rebuild is really providing what a lot of firms, like mine, are really looking for as a small business — a chance to work directly for the owner and get a chance to build a resume on capital projects,” he said.

Rodriguez says for him this project works two fold.

“We have some great park assets in Philadelphia, but they've certainly been neglected for years, this is a great opportunity for us to work on a project in the neighborhood that we're in,” he said.

Officials with Rebuild say the project has a goal of 30 to 35% minority-owned business participation and 25 to 30% for professional services contracts.

For women-owned businesses those numbers are 15 to 20%.