SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF LOAN: SAN recognizes that many small businesses are facing economic challenges.

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Small Business Development

Since 2003, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has ensured that local and small companies, including all women- and minority-owned and service disabled/veteran owned small businesses in San Diego County, have every opportunity to do business with the airport.

Certifying Your Local Business

The Authority launched the Local Business Enterprise (LBE) certification to allow for local business preference in the award of contracts by the Authority (per Policy 5.12). The Authority encourages firms to review the local business criteria and apply for certification. Firms desiring consideration for local business preference must qualify as an LBE prior to solicitation due date.

Get Your Local Business Certified ›

Our goal has been to create a level playing field that attracts businesses of all sizes; and that provides opportunities for workers of all genders and ethnicities.

That philosophy has grown into a firm commitment from the Board and a passionate belief by staff that everyone can benefit from being a part of the work we provide.

Across the country, airports look to San Diego International Airport as a model for engaging small and local businesses. The Airport Authority works closely with contractors to split projects into small packages, when possible, to allow small businesses the opportunity to bid on them.

The Airport Authority also holds small business outreach events on an ongoing basis to help local companies get involved in projects at the airport. As a result of this commitment, the Airport Authority has established a strong track record of inclusiveness.

The Airport Authority awarded $415 million in Terminal 2 expansion (Green Build) contracts to local businesses (90 percent of the contracts) and $118 million to small businesses in 2013.

For the Rental Car Center (2016), local businesses received more than $186.2 million in construction contracts, amounting to nearly 60 percent of the total project cost. Of the contracts that went to local businesses, $70.4 million – or 38 percent – went to small businesses. Also noteworthy is that $70.4 million represented nearly the entire amount ($73 million) that was available for small businesses.

All told, over the past decade, the Airport Authority has committed $750 million in construction contracts to local businesses, and $250 million in contracts to small businesses.

Further, over 100 students graduated in 2017 from the airport’s Turner School of Construction Management, which trains small businesses on the ins and outs of obtaining DBE certifications and navigating the bureaucracy inherent in big public projects.


The Quieter Home Program is funded by an Airport Improvement Project (AIP) grant from the federal government. Because the Quieter Home Program (QHP) is federally funded, prime and subcontractor work can apply toward the achievement level of the overall agency Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal.

Learn more about the overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal.

We are looking to our partners to understand that we have an overall program goal to meet and to support our efforts in maximizing the utilization of DBE firms in a race and gender neutral environment.


Download SAN's workshop schedule HERE.

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
*OSHA 30 Hours workshop is schedule from 4:00pm to 9:30pm w/30 minutes break
*Location: OSHA 30 Hours ADC Building – FEE $8.00 for OSHA card
Location: San Diego International Airport  Administrative Building aka Commuter Terminal

Workshop schedule may change based on demand and/or presenters. Register by emailing or calling (619) 400-2571.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has a preference program as outlined in Policy 5.12 that may be applied on select business/bid opportunities. Instructions on how to apply the preference program will be identified in the specific solicitation. To be considered a small business and eligible for a preference , a business concern must meet one of the criteria listed below:

The most current list of agencies that have certifications acceptable to the Authority is listed below. Certifications must be specific to the trade being performed by the small business concern. It is the responsibility of the business concern to verify that the particular certification does in fact comply with the SBA size standard and that the certifying agency has in fact verified SBA compliance. The Authority reserves the right to further investigate and verify a business concerns’ size standard with the certifying agency. The Authority is not required to accept a small business certification if the Authority is unable to verify compliance with the SBA size standards.

Acceptable Certifications:

  • A California Department of General Services (DGS) Small Business Certification provided that the SBA size standard for the specific trade is not less than $14 million or 100 employees; or
  • A DGS Micro Business Certification provided that the SBA size standard for the specific trade is not less than $3.5 million or 25 employees. (EXAMPLE: The SBA size standard uses an average of $7 million over three years to qualify as a small business for a specific trade. The Authority will not accept the DGS’ Small Business certification for that trade, but will accept the Micro Business certification.); or
  • A City of San Diego Small/Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Certification provided that a Small/Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) must provide evidence to the City of San Diego that they meet the SBA size standards. Authority will seek such verification from the City. It is the SLBE’s responsibility to provide that information to the City’s SLBE program prior to submission of any proposals to the Authority.

Airport Concession Small Business

In the event a solicitation is for an airport concession, a small business must demonstrate that they meet the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) size standard as outlined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 23, Section 23.33. NOTE: Certifications submitted to the Airport Authority are NOT acceptable for bid submittal while under review.

In early 2016, the Authority opened its new Consolidated Rental Car Center, relocating all car rental agencies on airport property. The car rental agencies subcontract certain operations, maintenance activities to Conrac Solutions, a third-party operator. ACDBE opportunities may exist through the utilization of ACDBE firms goods and services by the rental car agencies at the Authority's Consolidated Rental Car Center. To view a list of car rental purchase categories please click here and see Table 1 on pages 20-23.

Veteran Owned Small Business

To be eligible for VOSB preference, a business concern must be certified by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business SDVOSB.

Local Business

To be considered a local business and eligible for a preference, a business concern must meet all of the following criteria.

  • Occupies workspace within the County. The business must submit proof of occupancy to the Authority by supplying evidence of a lease, deed or other sufficient evidence demonstrating that the business has been located within the county for a minimum of 6 months prior to the release of a solicitation for which a business responds as a Local Business participant. (U.S. Post Office boxes are not verifiable and shall not be considered for the purpose of this definition). The business cannot satisfy this requirement by operating as a virtual office.
  • Submits proof to the Authority that the business is in compliance with all applicable laws relating to licensing and is not delinquent on any San Diego County taxes.
  • Submits proof to the Authority demonstrating one of the following:
    1. More than fifty percent (50%) of the workforce based in the local office resides in San Diego County; or
    2. The business must demonstrate that it is headquartered in the County. For purposes of the policy, the term “headquartered” shall mean that the business physically conducts and manages all of its operations from a location in the County.
  • Submits the Local Business Enterprise Affidavit of Eligibility form and is enrolled in the Authority’s Local Business Enterprise Directory at the time the bid or proposal is due.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has started a series of major improvements on the north side of San Diego International Airport. More than $300 million in contract opportunities are available!

Click here to view the list of Future Capital Improvement Program construction opportunities.

Click here to view the list of Future Professional Services.

Click here to view the Future Concessions & Passenger Services List


The Ready Service Program was established to create a pool of on-call contractors to supplement in-house work force, to ensure timely completion of lesser value work and to provide opportunity to small contractors to gain first-hand experience working at the airport and with a public agency.

Click here to view upcoming Ready Service Program opportunities.


  • Qualification Based 
  • Contract aggregate totals of $900,000 to $3,000,000 
  • Less than $100,000 per task order 
  • 3 year term (with possibility of two 1 year options) 
  • Payment Bond Requirement (only for work $25,000 and higher)
  • Insurance Requirements per agreement


  • General Construction Services 
  • Plumbing Electrical Services 
  • Painting 
  • Flooring and Tile 
  • Sheet Metal 
  • Roofing Services 
  • Fencing Services 
  • Earthwork, Concrete, & Paving 
  • Glazing 
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Small Business Spotlight

Chef Noelia “Noe” Murias came to America to spread the best of her native Basque cuisine to her new home. And cooking for thousands is what she’s been doing ever since, running her Paella Lifestyle that brings Basque-style food to crowds across the San Diego County region.

“My goal is to share my culture, and central to my culture is the wonderful food that we are so famous for,” said Murias. She is a native of Bilboa, the port city in the heart of the region between northern Spain and France that has been home to the Basque culture for centuries.

Since 2014, Murias has been owner and operator of Paella Lifestyle in San Diego, catering for groups that include the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Under the federal program governing transit agencies, with the guidance of the Airport Authority Small Business program outreach programs, she has become a certified business under the ACDBE Program -- Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

The Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport (SAN), has been providing these concession opportunities to local small businesses since in 2003. Across the country, airports look to SAN as a model for engaging small and local businesses and in the ACDBE program. The Airport Authority achieved a record 24% of ACDBE participation of total concessionaires in the 2018 fiscal year.

Murias’ cooking focuses on fresh seafood and produce such as those ingredients central to the iconic dish paella, the slow-cooked rice-based dish, and the healthy building blocks of the Mediterranean diet.

 “My passion for gastronomy comes from my homeland,” said Murias. “Since my childhood, family and friends have reunited together around tables to prepare succulent dishes in harmony with folk music. Since then, my desire has been to enjoy these pleasures in the best company and in every corner of this world.”

Because travel is a culture experience, Murias enjoys appealing to people who love to travel to experience new flavors. Her menu features colorful food including the Basque version of Spanish tapas, the appetizer-sized “pinktxos,” pronounced “peen-ches.”

Her Paella Lifestyle food is featured at local farmers markets including La Jolla Open Aire Market, local breweries and wineries, as well as special events throughout the region.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority remains committed to developing small businesses and supporting its business partners. We encourage you to learn more about how COVID-19 relief programs can help you during this challenging time.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application window is open to new applicants. Deadline to apply - March 31, 2021.

Learn more

California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

New funding rounds are now open for March (Round 3 through Round 5). Click Learn More for deadlines and eligibility. Round 5 includes new applicants and will be open from Thursday, March 25 through Wednesday, March 31.

Learn more

The PPP was created by the CARES Act to support COVID-19-impacted small business owners and their employees by providing loans that can be forgiven, in support of payroll expenses, mortgage, or rent. The SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders. Businesses that received loans in prior funding rounds may still be in the process of applying for and waiting for approval on forgiveness. The SBA has already forgiven more than 1.1 million PPP loans for over $100 billion.

Learn more

San Diego Business Relief - CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund Applications Open.

The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund (CARES Act RLF) is designed to provide economic assistance to City of San Diego or City of Chula Vista businesses impacted by COVID-19. The loans are intended to help entrepreneurs adapt their business models to operating under pandemic restrictions, to promote economic resiliency, and to support the retention or creation of jobs. Financial assistance will be allocated to qualified small businesses based on the availability of funds, program guidelines and the submission of all required information and supporting documentation.

Learn more

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

In response to COVID-19, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. can apply for an EIDL. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. The application period is now open.

Learn more

Additional resources

Education & Training

Small Business Development offers a regular series of monthly workshops in the evenings from 6 – 8 p.m. Check the calendar to find a workshop that interests you. 

Below are descriptions on some of the workshops offered throughout the year. Class sizes are small to allow for more personalized instruction, therefore pre-registration is a requirement.


The Business Tutorials are designed to conveniently learn about “Doing business with the Airport Authority” at your own pace. Each tutorial is based on important topics that you can click to view in any order preferred.

April 2016 Note: The tutorials are currently undergoing revisions and updates.

Class # Course Topic
1 New!Overview: Working at the Airport
2 Registering on the Airport's Vendor Database
3 Security Badges, Working at Night
4 Intro to O.C.I.P.
5 New!Labor Compliance Overview & New Regulations
Class 5b: Prevailing Wage
Class 5c: Required Forms
Class 5d: Apprentices
Class 5e: LCP Tracker
6 The Payment Process
7 EMR Requirements
8 Subcontracting Opportunities
9 Bid Documents
10 OCIP: Owner Controlled Insurance Program
11 The Public Works Process
12 Performance Following the Award
This workshop focuses on Labor Compliance in the Public Works arena. It will help you to understand the government regulations and procedures associated with Prevailing Wages. Learn what contractors must do to comply with the law (certified payroll records; payment of applicable prevailing wages; apprenticeship requirements; maintaining Workers Compensation insurance). We will provide you with resources to help you beyond the class, so that you are able to stay on top of this important requirement (and avoid the penalties associated with non-compliance).

Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is committed to the San Diego region and ensuring that local small, disadvantaged, disabled veteran, and other small business enterprises have every opportunity to do business with the airport.

Recognizing that the main barriers for small businesses have been a lack of access to bonding and financing, the airport's Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program assists small contractors in establishing first time bonding or increasing their current bonding capacity and financing for airport contract work.

Program Services:

  • Bonding and Financing Consultation and Technical AssistanceBid, Performance and Payment Bond Guarantees
  • Contract Financing Guarantees
  • Contractor-Focused Workshops and Seminars
  • Funds Administration Services

Enrollment Information - The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program is open to all experienced and licensed small businesses interested in participating.

To obtain more information, please contact the Bonding Office at (619) 400-2571 or send an appointment request.


A surety bond is a three-party agreement whereby the surety company assures the project owner (obligee) that the contractor (principal) will perform a contract in accordance with the contract documents. When a contractor requires its subcontractors to obtain bonds, the contractor is the obligee and the subcontractor is the principal. 

Surety is designed to prevent a loss. The surety pre-qualifies the contractor based on financial strength and construction expertise. 

There are three basic types of contract surety bonds: 

  • Bid Bond – Assures that the bid is submitted in good faith and that the contractor will enter into the contract at the price bid and provide the required performance and payment bonds. 
  • Performance Bond – Protects the owner from financial loss should the contractor fail to perform the contract in accordance with its terms and conditions.
  • Payment Bond – Assures that the contractor will pay specified subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers associated with the project.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority's Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program is administered by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services, a company that has developed, implemented and administered contract-specific surety bonding and financing programs for many West Coast municipalities, and is pleased to do so for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The 17-year success of these programs has resulted in the growth of numerous general and subcontracting businesses, and has provided access to opportunities which heretofore were unattainable because of the barriers imposed by lack of bonding and/or financing. Key to the success of these programs has been the partnership between Merriwether and Williams and the contractor, the broker, the lender, and the project owner. Working together, these partnerships have served to mitigate the traditional risks associated with these opportunities. Another key component of the program is Funds Administration.


Funds Administration (“FA”) is an underwriting tool sometimes required by a surety company as a condition of obtaining a bond. It is also required by the surety bond program to protect the guarantee provided to a surety on the contractor's behalf. Although there are a number of FA companies utilized by various surety companies, the process is often similar: Essentially, progress payments are sent to the FA Company instead of directly to the contractor. It is the job of the FA to make sure the right people get paid the right amount at the right time. This includes payment to subcontractors, suppliers, etc., and to the contractor for their overhead and profit. 

To help you better understand the process and to incorporate these tools into the management of your business, we regularly offer a workshop on Funds Administration.


Key to the success of the Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program is the partnership between Merriwether and Williams (program administrator) and the contractor, the broker, the lender, and the project owner. Working together, these partnerships have served to mitigate the traditional risks associated with contracting opportunities. Our partners all specialize in working with contractors. One of the services of our program is to link you to these partners and help you to establish a relationship.

Surety Brokers – Our surety broker partners help you to develop a relationship with one of our surety partners to facilitate your obtaining bonding.

Lenders – Our lending partners make working capital loans to program participants. They also provide counseling and training.

CPAs/Bookeeper’s – Most contractors need to have a relationship with a CPA or bookkeeper who understands the industry and can provide them with timely financial statements. Many surety companies and lenders often require CPA-prepared financial statements. One of the features of the program is to help you establish these relationships and access these tools.

Contracting Opportunities at the Airport – The Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program services can be used for all Airport Contracting Programs.

This program has been uniquely designed to enhance the technical, administrative and managerial skills of minority, women-owned and other small business enterprises in order to make a profit and build a reputation for efficiently managing construction projects. Individuals enrolled in the program gain insights and meaningful tools that help them target their business for quality and growth and develop new, strategic business relationships. The Airport Authority and Turner Construction partner to host a fall and spring session, which consists of fourteen classes held twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m.


The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Authority) has received Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and as a condition of receiving this assistance, the Authority has established a:

  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in accordance with regulations of the DOT, 49 CFR Part 26
  • Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program in accordance with regulations of the DOT, 49 CFR Part 23

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Information and Goals

Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program Information and Goals

2020 Meet the Primes

Learn from Prime Contractors on upcoming business opportunities

Learn how to become a successful concessionaire in the airport industry.

  • Concession Panel 1 (Hudson Group, HMSHost, S&C Robinson, SSP America, & S. Levy Foods) Presentation: Recording and Presentation
  • Concession Panel 2 (Mission Yogurt, SFS Beauty, P&P Services, High Flying Foods, & Procurement Concepts Inc.) Presentation: Recording and Presentation

Learn how to do business with the airport, get certified as a Local Business Enterprise through the airport, and the Bonding & Contracting Financing Assistance Program.

Learn about San Diego International Airport’s upcoming opportunities, updates, and programs.

Learn from public agencies about how to do business with each agency and upcoming opportunities. Learn how business support services can assist you with growing your business and government contracting.

  • Public Agencies and Business Support Services Presentation and Panel 1 (Procurement Technical Assistance Center, SANDAG, Caltrans, County of San Diego, North County Transit District, San Diego County Water Authority, Port of San Diego, and University California of San Diego) Recording and Presentation
  • Public Agencies and Business Support Services Presentation and Panel 2 (San Diego and Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center, City of San Diego, San Diego Unified School District, U.S. Veterans Business Alliance, and Business Incentive Credits) Recording and Presentation
Policy 5.12 establishes a program of goals and incentives for small businesses, veteran owned small businesses and local businesses in the contract procurement process of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

To get certified as a Local Business with the Authority to qualify for local business preference click here.

Small Business Development 

Phone: 619/400-2568