Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash

Small businesses in Louisiana were awarded a total of almost $2.8 billion in federal contracts in fiscal year 2018.

Minority-owned businesses were awarded a total of $302 million or almost 11% of all federal contracts in the state. This is higher than the national percentage of only 2%. The government’s contracting goal for minority businesses is at least 3%.

Women-owned businesses received a total of $181.7 million or 6.5% of all federal contracts. Nationally, only 4.75% of government contracts were awarded to women-owned companies. The government’s contracting with these businesses is at least 5%.

Veteran-owned businesses were awarded $143 million in government contracts. In addition, service-disabled veteran-owned companies were awarded $111 million.

Some of the recipients of these contracts include minority-owned Pontchartrain Partners, woman-owned Gulf South Research Corp. and service-disabled veteran-owned Solvet.

New Orleans-based engineering firm Pontchartrain Partners was founded by Danny Blanks, Bart Cook and James R. Washington III in 2009 during the reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina. The federal government allocated $14 billion to rebuild New Orleans. Pontchartrain started initially as a subcontractor for larger companies. Today, it is the prime contractor for almost 90% of its projects. It has more than 100 employees and has almost outgrown its status as a certified small business.

Baton Rouge-based environmental consulting services company Gulf South Research Corp. was founded by Louisiana State University graduate Suna Adam in 1993. Like Pontchartrain, Gulf South started as a subcontractor. Adam took advantage of the opportunity when the government started offering sole source contracts to woman-owned small businesses in December 2005. Today, the company has 32 employees and offices in four states.

Lafayette-based medical equipment and supplies company Solvet was founded in April 2018 by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jared Sere. After his deployment to Iraq, Sere completed his master’s degree in business administration and worked as vice president of strategic growth and emerging markets at Viemed before starting his own business. The Louisiana government provides assistance for small businesses in obtaining certification that will allow them to be awarded sole source contracts. The Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center has a dedicated staff to help small business owners in several regions across the state. The center’s clients have been awarded more than $8.6 billion in federal contracts since it was created.