Navy Small Business Office Workshop Debuts During Memphis Navy Week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NNS) — More than 45 Memphis-area small businesses gathered at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce to learn how to do business with the Department of the Navy (DON), during Navy Week Memphis.

During a two-hour Small Business Workshop hosted by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and the DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), the seminar was designed to educate small businesses how the DON’s acquisition process works and what resources are available to assist them.

“Small businesses significantly contribute to the warfighter mission by providing innovative solutions to many of the Department of the Navy’s challenges,” said Emily Harman, director, DON OSBP. “Outreach events like today build on the work of our small business professionals in the field by helping connect small business with opportunities to support the warfighter.”

The workshop also featured presentations from Eric Terrell, the senior area manager in Memphis for the Small Business Administration and Russell Toone from the University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), to introduce participants to local resources that can help them navigate the acquisition process.

“I’ve never done business with the government before, and I learned so much from this workshop,” said Laura Wolf, a freelance training specialist and small business owner. “I had no idea about the process or even where to begin. Now I have a better idea of what I need to do and resources available to me as a small business owner.”

The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce was the perfect location for the workshop said the Chamber’s Christina Meek. “More than 80 percent of our members are small businesses, and we’ve launched a goal this year for 300 new contracts to be awarded to locally-owned small businesses and 300 new contracts be awarded to minority and women-owned businesses,” Meek said. “By working with partners in the private and nonprofit sector and government offices, we can help Memphis’ small businesses achieve their goals, which will, ultimately, benefit our local economy.”

This marked the first time that DON OSB participated in a Navy Week for outreach to local small businesses. “It was good to talk with small business representatives in Memphis — most of whom have not conducted business with government before,” Harman said. “It’s important that we have a robust, competitive defense industrial base because it ensures we are able to get the best products and services to our Sailors and Marines. We hope to continue our partnership with NAVCO for future participation in Navy Week events.” Harman said.

Navy Weeks are coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) and aim to give Americans the opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity.

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.