Entrepreneurs Invited to Bid on County Contracts, Use Business Resources

Entrepreneurs Invited to Bid on County Contracts, Use Business Resources

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 10, 2017)

Waterford, MI – Oakland County is open for business and a workshop Wednesday shared the multiple ways that county government can help local businesses succeed.

From helping people get into the system for County contracts, to sharing free and low cost resources, the event gave attendees a wealth of ways to connect.


Oakland County – along with over 200 local level government agencies – is part of a system called MITN (Michigan Intergovernmental Trade Network) where independent contractors and suppliers register and can be notified of RFPs (Request For Proposals) that their business may be able to provide.  Over 4,200 bids and quotes went through MITN last year, covering anything from consulting, services to construction to demolition.

“If we bought it before, we’re going to buy it again,” said Joan Daniels a Level Two Buyer in the Purchasing Department.  “MITN has the history of those purchases.  You can look back through that history and anticipate what some of the needs might be.”

She gave other tips for using the system, including the ability to see proposals that were accepted in the past, and being able to check out companies that have won bids and use that information for networking or approaching those vendors to possibly become subcontractors.

A “Do’s and “Don’ts” list also gave tips to potential vendors, including to DO read the instructions, DO ask questions of the buyer, and DO ask for a debriefing if not awarded the contract.  And DON’T wait until the last minute to submit your proposal.

Mike Pucher, Supervisor of Community and Home Improvement explained that for each job the county rotates through their list of potential vendors and contacts 4-5 to give information on each job and request proposals. Each job includes requests to women and minority contractors.  Contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.

When business owners sign up, they can chose to receive information county-wide, or limit it based on quadrants. More information on MITN can be found at https://legacy.mitn.info/default.asp.


The Oakland County One Stop Business Center offers help for “any industry at any stage,” according to Supervisor Greg Doyle.

Among the service are: market analysis, loan package development, marketing plans, financial analysis, process planning and strategies. There are workshops and classes as well as individualized help.

There is also walk-in counseling available where a specialist will sit with an entrepreneur for 15-20 minutes to discuss their needs and point them in the right direction.  “A lot of times there’s a new business owner and they know they need something, but they don’t know exactly what,” Doyle said.  “This is how we can help find them the resources they need.”  Walk in hours take place in both Waterford and Novi.

In addition to direct services, Oakland County has been helping organize way for small business owners to connect.

Tech 248 is an initiative that focuses on talent, connectivity between businesses, branding, sharing knowledge, and creating local incubators and tech hubs.  Meet ups are held throughout Oakland County to ensure that efforts are widespread.

Other collaborative efforts include Automation Alley, Walsh College Launchpad, OUInc, and SBDC Tech Team.

There is also a marketing program that encourages people to shop at local retailers through Oakland County called Shop Small Saturday. “This piggybacks of the American Express Shop Small idea,” he said.  Black Friday, which follows Thanksgiving Thursday, is the largest shopping day of the year.  Traditionally big box stores and malls have remarkable deals that draw people in for holiday shopping.  Small Business Saturday is the local alternative.  Oakland County has sweetened the spirit of the Shop Small movement by offering prizes for shopper who enter by submitting photos of their receipts at local businesses.


Kevin Congdon, Loan and Finance Officer in Financial Services, is one of the folks who helps connect entrepreneurs with funding for their enterprise.  His department stays in the know about what loan program are available including CEED microloans, Industrial Revenue Bonds, and SBA (Small Business Administration) 504 loans. Financial Services can be accessed through the One Stop Business Center.


Michigan Workforce Development is also part of the suite of service that can help businesses of any size or type.  Their main task to connecting employers and potential employees.  Michigan Works offices in Ferndale, Highland, Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy and Waterford provide multiple services for employers and job seekers.

“The days of post and pray are over,” said Manager Jennifer Llewellyn.  “You have to be more innovative in your approach.”

Offering skilled trades training, talent recruitment, workforce assessment, candidate prescreening and social media outreach are among the ways Michigan Workforce Development helps foster prosperity in Oakland County.  Learn more at….https://www.oakgov.com/edca/workforce/Pages/default.aspx

The workshop was developed at the request of Oakland County Commissioners Janet Jackson, Michael Spisz ,and Gary McGillivary.  “Small business entrepreneurship is the life blood in communities,” stated Commissioner Janet Jackson. “It is essential, as the Board of Commissioners, to provide information and forums that help educate and foster fledgling businesses. These activities can level the playing field and spur economic development for all of our residents.”

For more information about doing business in Oakland County visit https://www.oakgov.com/edca/business/OneStopShop/Pages/default.aspx.

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