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Industry Days garner Air Force small business award

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Small business specialists from Schriever and Peterson Air Force Bases, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson were recently awarded the Secretary of the Air Force Small Business Directors Award.

The award stemmed from the groups' benchmark of an event called Industry Days which offers small businesses an avenue to learn to market their products and services to government clients.

"The Industry Days event is ideal for the company that has had little interface with the government," said Paul Aldrich, 50th Space Wing Small Business director. "Attendees gain insight from a well seasoned and entertaining veteran in the government contracting arena."

The event has caught on throughout the Front Range. The first event in August 2010 was hosted by Schriever, Peterson and USAFA and had more than 10 local companies in attendance.

"Word spread of how beneficial the event was to local businesses, now we have an average of 45 companies at each event," said Aldrich.

The cooperation between the bases to hold the Industry Days is another reason why the event is a success.

"Working together (with the other Front Range bases) 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 each other and it helps us to try and standardize our approaches in how we work with the small businesses so they have a common understanding of what we expect."

The partnership goes deeper than just the Front Range bases. The joint team also coordinates with the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center and local offices of the U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Small Business Administration.

This year alone, the Industry Days team has met with more than 720 businesses.

"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," said Selby. "Small businesses employ more than half of America's workforce and represent 99 percent of all businesses. They are literally the fuel that keeps our economy moving forward."

The collaborative effort of the Front Range Small Business Offices was formally recognized as an Air Force Best Practice.

"We really work hard to better equip local small businesses to be winners in the federal government contracting arena," said Aldrich. "This initiative is a testimony of our commitment to supporting one of America's most precious resources, small businesses."

Industry Days are held the third Tuesday of every month at Colorado Technical University. For more information, contact the 50th Space Wing Small Business office at 567-3805.

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