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CSBDF and Merriwether & Williams partner to provide support for City of Charlotte program

CHARLOTTE— Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) and Merriwether & Williams Insurance have created a unique partnership to provide resources to contractors enrolled in the Charlotte Business Inclusion Contractor Development Program. Merriwether & Williams is the Administrator of the City’s program and CSBDF will support access to bonding and contract financing to support small construction businesses as they seek to obtain and perform contracts with the City.

The program, sponsored by the Charlotte Business Inclusion Office (CBI), will help extend a broad range of technical assistance to small businesses to organizations including assistance to obtain bonding and contract working capital so that these entities have the capacity to effectively bid on City contracts, and if awarded, fund the contract scope of work.

“Construction is considered a high-growth industry in North Carolina,” said CSBDF President and CEO Kevin Dick. “But it’s also an industry that deals with a fair amount of risk, and that makes it harder for smaller and undercapitalized businesses to compete for contracts.”

CSBDF is a statewide nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses. CSBDF will issue letters of credit to CBI-certified companies, which helps them obtain the surety bonds they need to help minimize financial risk and effectively contract with the City of Charlotte. Additionally, CSBDF may also provide contract-based financing to firms that need to scale and mobilize so they can execute City contracts.

“This program is about finding innovative ways to meet needs. The City needs contractors to assist with critical development projects and contractors need supportive services and resources to position them to compete and complete City contracts,” said Charlotte Business Inclusion Officer Steven Coker. “In the process, the City benefits by having an increased pool of local contractors bidding on projects which can lower contracting costs and generate a multiplicative economic benefit when contracting dollars are redistributed into the local community. The engagement of Merriwether & Williams as administrator of the program bringing more than 25 years’ experience to bear, along with Carolina Small Business Development Fund as the program resource partner will help address the needs of contractors so they can go on to meet the needs of a flourishing city.” The Wonder Group, a local consulting firm, will also support the program in marketing and outreach along with prime contractor connections.

“We are ecstatic with the opportunity to bring our unique programs to the Charlotte community and look forward to supporting contractors looking to grow their capacity and increase their inclusion in City contracting. We have firsthand knowledge of what’s possible when barriers are removed that enables more small and diverse businesses to compete. Not only do more public dollars recycle in the local community, but these contractors also bring a special ‘pride of ownership’ mentality to the work they perform and the legacy that remains after. We are so fortunate to have CSBDF to partner with us in extending these critical resources to Charlotte’s small and diverse contractor community,” said Ingrid Merriwether, President & CEO Merriwether & Williams Insurance.

“It’s mission critical for us to forge partnerships with municipalities like the City of Charlotte and other business resource providers like Merriwether & Williams so we can help small businesses capitalize on the opportunities our state’s growing economy has to offer,” said Dick.

About Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) Founded in 1990, Carolina Small Business Development Fund is a nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses. Since 2010, CSBDF has contributed more than $103 million through 1,179 loans and 1,643 grants to dedicated small businesses across North Carolina, helping to create or retain more than 4,500 full-time jobs.

About Merriwether & Williams Insurance

Merriwether & Williams is a licensed Property, Casualty, Bonding and Risk Management firm but known mostly for its administration of contractor supportive service programs on behalf of public agencies seeking more inclusion of small and diverse contractors. In addition to construction specific technical assistance and training, the firm provides pathways to qualify for bonding and contract working capital critical for participation in public construction. Int it’s 25+ years in business, Merriwether & Williams administered programs have supported contractor bonds of over $1 Billion supporting $331 Million in awarded contracts and enabled $4.8 M in contract financing – all while maintain a program-wide loss ratio of less than 1%.


Emily Blevins Marketing & Communications Director, CSBDF



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