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Wing small business office receives best practice

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Small business specialists from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy have teamed up with the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command and Fort Carson to hold monthly Industry Days.

The joint team coordinates with 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. The events are designed to provide small businesses with the information they need to be more successful in working with local military installations.

The monthly Industry Days offer a practical approach to educating small businesses about how to market their products and services to government clients. The events have proven to be very valuable for companies that have had little previous interaction with the government. Attendees are able to gain insight from experienced government contracting professionals as well as other participating companies.

A typical agenda includes mission briefs given by the small business specialists, which also includes information about current contract opportunities. During the event, a panel of small business specialists gives attendees the opportunity to ask questions and solicit advice. During an afternoon session, participants are given a special training session focused on a specific aspect of federal contracting.

The initiative has been a great success for all participants. Presentations include a "Small Business 101" training course and briefings on business opportunities from each of the front-range agencies. Additionally, the SBDC, GSA and SBA agencies are afforded the opportunity to present how their organizations can assist small businesses.

Rather than each of the small businesses having to schedule an appointment with the small business office for their introductory meeting, the companies are able to accomplish this during the Industry Day. Likewise, the small business offices are able to maximize use of their time by meeting with 50 companies at a time, as well as having the opportunity to network with aspiring small businesses.

The Colorado Springs Small Business Industry Days represent an outstanding initiative on the part of the federal, state and local agencies, and this collaborative effort has been formally recognized as an Air Force Best Practice. There is no doubt that the small business offices along the Front Range are successfully teamed together with their community. The entire group is working hard and leaning forward to better equip local small businesses to be winners in the Federal government contracting arena. The initiative is a testimony of their commitment to supporting one of America's most precious resources: small business.

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