Small Business

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Getting into the end zone

Preparing Minnesota’s diverse businesses for catching super bowl cash and contracts

It’s still 14 months until kickoff at Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, but diverse small businesses that want to provide goods and services for the once-in-a-lifetime event need to start getting in line for consideration as contractors and suppliers for the many activities and events surrounding the event.

Businesses owned and operated by women, minorities, veterans and the LGBT community will get special strategic consideration.

Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee will build its Business Connect directory of these companies; all of them will be vetted, verified, certified and ready to land contracts for the 2018 Super Bowl.

“In the past, no one has deliberately tried to reach out to these people. We want to lean forward and push to give these business an opportunity to perform,” says Alex Tittle, Vice President of Business Connect and Corporate Affairs for the Host Committee. “This is the list that the NFL will look at first when picking vendors and contractors.”

On Dec. 2, the host committee launches its outreach to diverse businesses to prepare them to qualify to be included in the directory.

The Minnesota Super Bowl Business Connect event will be held Dec. 2 from 9 a.m.—noon at the Law School Atrium of the University of St Thomas in downtown Minneapolis. The event is free, but participants are asked to register in advance.

The Business Connect directory seeks diverse local vendors who provide a wide range of goods and services, from catering to souvenirs to offering linens or cleanup services.

“At last year’s Super Bowl in San Francisco, we know that $6.5 million in contracts went to these targeted businesses in that city. We think we could be more successful than that. We know how to engage these businesses in the Twin Cities,” says Tittle. “We just finished the $1.1 billion US Bank Stadium and achieved close to 30% or $300 million in participation by those targeted businesses.”

To be included in the Business Connect directory, all vendors are required to:

  • Be certified as minority, women, disabled, veteran or LGBT-owned businesses.
  • The majority owner must hold 51% of the company.
  • The company must have been in business for at least three years.
  • The company must have offices in Minnesota.

Local businesses that want to get a jump on the process can begin to register online at the host committee’s website.

Staff from the Host Committee plans to stage additional workshops with businesses to help them compete, with hands-on training on topics including how to write an RFP and how to manage cash flow.

Tittle says the directory, created in partnership with NFL Business Connect and the National Football League, will have value for the growth and development of the businesses that are included long after the Super Bowl clock has run down and the athletes, media and visitors have gone home.

“The legacy of this program is that we will have a directory of these local and diverse businesses that are verified and certified. So in the future, when the Final Four or Meet Minneapolis or Target Field is looking for a vendor, they will have a database at their fingertips,”

Tittle explains. “We hope that in the future, no one will be able to say, we can’t find a woman- or minority-owned business to provide us with these goods or services. Here they are.”

In addition to the financial benefit, businesses that win contracts for the Super Bowl will get a chance to get up close to the glitz of the NFL’s biggest event.

“It’s not all glamour. We need Porta Potties, too!” laughs Tittle. “But everything has got to be the best — aesthetically appealing as well as functional.”

Click here to register for the business connect launch.