Archive for the ‘economic development’ Category

HBCU Host Communities Should Outsource More

August 29, 2010

The past few weeks have been exciting. My mom was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. I still have family there. In December 2009, I helped the City of Tuskegee and Tuskegee University with a forum to discuss the revitalization of the City of Tuskegee. We all agreed that a revitalized Tuskegee would improve the local economy and increase the University’s ability to recruit and retain high quality students and faculty members. Unfortunately, many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are located in host communities which suffer from blight and economic depression.

Tuskegee’s Mayor Omar Neal and other locally based participants gave a vision for a revitalized City of Tuskegee. The vision focused on education, health care, public safety, and job creation. Some of the specific actions included developing the I-85 interchanges, improving the industrial park, rehabilitating downtown, implementing a tourism plan, and increasing restaurant and retail options. All local presenters agreed that the vision should be completed in a strategically planned manner.

Following the local vision presentations, various representatives from state and federal government gave their reactions to the local vision along with thoughts about potential participation by their agencies. Private sector and philanthropic entities gave their response to the vision and potential resource assistance as well. These responses exemplified the need to develop a broad-based coalition to conduct this revitalization effort.

This year, there will be further discussions during the Booker T. Washington Summit in the City of Tuskegee. We have offered to help with:
 Promotion to State and Federal Agencies
 Grant writing
 Small Business Seminars
 Meeting Facilitation

I also work as a small business counselor at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) in Albany, Georgia which is home to the HBCU Albany State University. Over the past few weeks, Georgia Tech has been working with the City of Albany’s Economic Development Department on a proposition to manage its Small Business Program. Georgia Tech’s Research Corporation won the contract award and will provide the following key services:
 Create and maintain a comprehensive electronic database of Albany-area businesses
 Provide reports
 Develop training and technical assistance
 Assist the City of Albany to create an electronic database of all upcoming and awarded contract opportunities, tailored to the interests and capabilities of each business, so they may be manipulated electronically for notification to relevant Albany-area businesses.
 Will participate in local pre-bid and pre-proposal conferences, and will conduct training workshops for SBP program participants on how to prepare for, attend, and follow-up on such conferences
 Create and process Albany Small Business Enterprise (ASBE) certifications

The common denominator is outsourcing. Outsourcing work to consultants is ideal because it is cheaper than acquiring expertise by hiring full time equivalents and investing in training, health benefits, and retirement benefits.

Outsourcing to consultants is not new for most small towns. Several small towns use consultants for site plan reviews, construction inspections, code compliance, strategic planning, grant writing, and information technology services. Sometimes small towns have difficulty finding professional consultants that are willing to work within the small town’s small budgets. However, the key is to partner small businesses and other universities that can do the work for less and keep services affordable.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at