Image Text Transcript - Growth By Design

Winter 2022

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works Small Business Development Growth By Design Program (SBD) kicked off it's fourth cohort on September 10, 2020. More than 50 years participated in the 2020 DPW SBD Program specializing in disciplines including engineering design, construction, hauling, and landscaping. This year, the program shifted from being in-person to being held 100% on a virtual platform.

"We felt it was important to continue to develop the capacity of small and minority businesses can potentially compete on Baltimore City Projects even in a pandemic, even when we can't meet in person. " Stated Deena Joyce, Chief of Board and Commissions.  As in previous years, 2020 participants benefited from the following 11-Week career

  • Bonding
  • Construction Cost Accounting
  • Construction Best Practices
  • Contract Administration
  • Estimating and Bidding
  • M/WBE Certification
  • Prequalification with Baltimore City
  • Asset Management
  • Sustainability & Resilience in Infrastructure
  • Proven Marketing Strategies
  • OSHA 10-Hour Certification

The DPW SBD Growth by Design Program incorporated opportunities for the cohort to the network by hosting Thursday Business Pitch and Networking  Sessions. Firms used this time to hone their business tips.

DPW SBD Program participant Anthony Vaz, President of Insight Engineering, shared, "Your Network is your net worth". Under this unprecedented health and economic crisis, it is imperative that we expand our network to grow and create opportunities for economic development. Thank you for creating such an effective program for us.


Lesson Learned with B & B Partnership initiative.

What is B & B Partnership Initiative and when is it formed?

B&B Partnership is a general contractor and construction management based in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland - Founded by both Priscilla Brown and Chris Bowens in September 2016. Our goal is to hire and inspire locally.

Our primary services include:

  • Program Management
  • Project Management
  • Construction Management
  • Engineering and Design

We have experienced challenges such as:

  • Increasing operating cost
  • Responding to competition
  • Learning when to delegate and when to get involved; and 
  • Staffing demand

After what you have experienced, how would you approach things differently?

With all the excitement and potential of business growth, it can be easy to lose sight of what initially made a company special.  It is imperative you protect your brand and nurture the company culture. Company culture is expected by everyone involved with your organization. As you grow, it becomes more difficult to exert control over your culture and you run the risk of having it derailed.  Set forth procedures and practices that reflect your business culture. Business intelligence is the key to maintaining productivity.  My recommendation would be to plan early for company growth.

In business how have you pivoted during the COVID-19  Pandemic?

We have diversified our services by doing more project management, and we are assisting our clients with ongoing projects. We took a look at our expenses and cut out anything unnecessary, and we are willing to adapt.

What Advice would you offer other small firms about partnering and teaming?

Considering like-minded partners. Partnerships, formed with good intentions, are mutually beneficial for all parties involved.  A good business partner will have strengths that balance your business weaknesses. It is an opportunity to get ideas from their experiences, gain feedback and pull additional resources. Mutual respect and desire for professional growth make the TEAM an all-around perfect choice. Become familiar with a potential partner's business practices. Define your roles and responsibilities upfront. Be sure to have valid contracts/agreements in place. Be honest with yourself and each other. Avoid creating competitors.  The goal is to complement and collaborate.