The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC), a nonprofit organization committed to women's business development and economic empowerment, proudly announces the establishment of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) in St. Louis. The initiative was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, positioning the WBDC as the Central SBTRC grantee serving a five-state region including, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

“The WBDC is incredibly grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation for this amazing opportunity to open the Central SBTRC, said Maura Downs, Managing Director, Government Contracting Program and Services at the WBDC. “We are eager to nurture the diverse business community in the region to ensure small and disadvantaged businesses have equitable opportunities to succeed and grow.”

The presence of the SBTRC is an expansion of the WBDC’s existing services in St. Louis, leveraging the organization’s nationally recognized expertise which ignites business growth through programs, services, and advocacy efforts. Under the leadership of the WBDC, the Central SBTRC works closely with the transportation contracting community and other technical assistance providers to offer a comprehensive suite of free technical assistance programs designed to enhance the capabilities of small and disadvantaged businesses. The center offers services such as business analyses, market research and procurement assistance, general management and technical assistance, business counseling and coaching, as well as capital access and Surety Bond assistance.

A few of Central SBTRC’s goals will be to host programs for Bonding Education to assist Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, a Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative Event, and seminars for CDFI’s. The center will also create a Regional Partnership Committee with state Departments of Transportations and other community stakeholders. The goal is to increase the economic competitiveness of small businesses in the market and ultimately acquire transportation contract opportunities.

"We are thrilled to partner with the WBDC for the launch of the SBTRC in St. Louis," said A. Bradley Mims, OSDBU Director at the U.S. Department of Transportation. "This initiative emphasizes our commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses across the Central Region. We commend the Women's Business Development Center for their dedication to driving positive change and look forward to witnessing the impact of the SBTRC in supporting the growth and success of enterprises in the region.”

To lead the center’s initiatives, the WBDC proudly welcomes Venus Martz as the Director of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center. Venus brings over a decade of invaluable experience in economic development, having worked with both small businesses and large corporations. In her role, Venus will oversee operations for the SBTRC across the entire central region while based in St. Louis.

"I am honored to lead the Central SBTRC, and especially excited to work with the WBDC and our partners to make a meaningful impact on the businesses we serve,” said Venus Martz, Director of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center at the WBDC.