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Small business partnership earns Air Force award

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Small business specialists from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy teamed with the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command and Fort Carson, to hold monthly Industry Days in an effort to introduce Colorado companies to government agencies.

The industry day events are designed to provide small businesses with information to be successful in working with local military installations.

The joint and federal team is comprised of the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center and local offices of the U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Small Business Administration. This year, the partnership met with more than 700 businesses.

Additionally, the initiative was recognized as an Air Force Best Practice by the Air Force Manpower Agency, and was recently recognized by the Secretary of the Air Force Small Business Director with the Secretary of the Air Force Small Business Directors Award.

The success of the program shows the desire the local small businesses have to engage and help each installation with their respective missions. These events offer a practical approach to educating small businesses on marketing their products and services to government clients. The events have proven to be valuable for companies that have little previous interaction with the government. Attendees are able to gain insight from experienced government contracting professionals, as well as other participating companies.

The Colorado Springs Small Business Industry Days represent an outstanding initiative on the part of the federal, state and local agencies. The group is working hard and leaning forward to better equip local small businesses to be winners with the federal government.

"Working together (with the other Front Range installations) helps us share our knowledge of the small business programs with one another," said Reggie Selby, 21st Space Wing Small Business director. "We are always able to learn from one another, and it helps us to try to standardize our approaches in how we work with the small businesses so they have a common understanding of what we expect."

Selby also reiterated the importance of small businesses to our nation's economy and to reducing contract costs.

"At a time when there are so many budget cuts, reorganizations and cut backs, small businesses can be the answer we have all been looking for," he added. "Small businesses employ more than half of America's workforce and represent 99 percent of all businesses. They are the engine that keeps our economy moving forward."

The monthly Industry Days started on Peterson AFB in a small conference room, but because of limited space and increased participation, moved to the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator. The events are held at Colorado Technical University on the third Tuesday of each month.

The initiative is a testimony of their commitment to supporting one of America's most precious resources: small business.

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