DON OSBP Hosts Annual Small Business Forum at Sea Air Space 2017

The Department of the Navy (DON) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) held its annual Small Business Forum and Matchmaking Events at the Navy League of the United States Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland April 4-5.

“Small businesses will be key contributors as we rebuild and reform our Navy and Marine Corps to meet the demands of the maritime environment, today and in the future. The DON OSBP is committed to fostering a culture that meets these challenges by leveraging Small Business as a strategic advantage,” said Emily Harman, director, DON OSBP. “These events help us strengthen and expand our network of partners.”

Both events enabled participants interested in doing business with Navy and Marine Corps the opportunity to communicate with small business professionals representing the DON’s 10 major buying commands, and to learn how their products, services and technology can support the Navy and Marine Corps mission. Participants also found opportunities to network with each other while gaining a greater understanding of the DON’s acquisition process.

The matchmaking event, held April 4, was a series of one-on-one meetings between small businesses and representatives from the DON’s10 buying commands to share information about specific contracting and subcontracting opportunities. In all, 180 matchmaking meetings were held with representatives of 80 small businesses. “For a small company without a big marketing team, this was a great opportunity to network one-on-one and make contacts. Every small company should take advantage of this,” said a matchmaking participant.
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This year’s small business forum, held April 5, featured two panels and focused on creating opportunities for, and removing barriers to, small business participation in the industrial base that supports the warfighter mission of the Navy and Marine Corps. During the Deputy Program Manager Panel, moderated by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Allison Stiller, deputy program managers discussed how they engage with small businesses, and how small businesses can learn about upcoming contracting opportunities to support their programs. During the Contracting Panel, moderated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Acquisition and Procurement Elliott Branch, participants gained insight into the DON’s efforts to streamline and simplify the acquisition process and remove barriers to small business participation in the industrial base.

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The forum also featured a presentation from Toya Davis and Philip Hadji, Assistant Counsels in the DON’s Acquisition Integrity Office, on ways to prevent and deter acquisition fraud. “It’s vital that small businesses know the contracting rules so they can continue to deliver the tools our Sailors and Marines need to execute their mission,” said Davis. “Attendees learned the high value the Department of the Navy places on the integrity of its contractors and the critical role small businesses play in supporting the warfighter,” said Hadji.

Robert Smith, director of the DON’s small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer (STTR) programs, discussed how they link urgent warfighting requirements with small, innovative companies and their technology.

“Small businesses significantly contribute to the warfighter mission by providing innovative and agile solutions for many of the challenges the Navy faces today and beyond. Venues like Sea-Air-Space help raise small business awareness and outreach by providing direct communication and networking between Navy and Marine Corps acquisition decision-makers, industry leaders and other small companies and for us to listen to their concerns and answer their questions,” said Smith.

The mission of the DON Small Business Enterprise is to foster acquisition opportunities where small businesses can best support Sailors, Marines and their families in accomplishing their mission and to influence change and create a culture of small business inclusiveness across the DON. DON OSBP accomplishes this through policy, advocacy, counseling and training through outreach events such as Sea-Air-Space and the upcoming DON Gold Coast Procurement Event in August.

For more information on the DON’s Small Business Program, upcoming outreach events and our 10 major buying commands www.secnav.navy.mil/smallbusiness.

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