It’s not widely known, but the United States Department of Defense (DOD) has regional councils that organize programs in effort to promote small business growth. What’s also not widely known is that you don’t have to work in the military or DOD to participate in the programs.
Benefits of Working with DOD Small Business Programs
According to it’s the official Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs’ website, “There are seven Regional Councils sponsored by the DoD Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) governed by individual by-laws. Membership is open to small business advocates from the DoD and civilian agencies.”
If you’re a military veteran or woman business owner whose business focuses on developing other small businesses and/or improving communities, benefits gained through OSBP can extend to contractual business relationships with government entities. Additionally, the councils strive to promote Tribal schools, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and historically underutilized business zones (HUBzones).
Regional DOD Council Offices
Offices for the DOD OSBP’s Northeast region are located in Natick, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island and Concord, Massachusetts. The Mid-Atlantic regional council offices are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C. and at Langley Air Force Base (AFB) in Virginia. The Southeast region has offices in Vicksburg, Mississippi and Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Offices in the South Central and Pacific Northwest regions are located in Sam Houston and Texas; Walla Walla, Washington.
Some regional offices are located on military installations (e.g. Langley Air Force Base, Edwards Air Force Base), while others are managed out of area Small Business Administration facilities. Regardless of location, the councils have the same mission which the OSBP notes at its official website is to, “advise the Secretary of Defense on all matters related to small business and are committed to maximizing the contributions of small business in DoD acquisitions.”
Getting Started with DOD Small Business Programs
If you’re interested in working with the OSBP, you’re encouraged to reach out to a regional council office and check out the organization’s official website which is listed in the “Sources” section at the bottom of this article. You can also reach out to Procurement Technical Assistant Centers (PTACs) to learn more about what you need to do in order to start conducting business with government agencies, including bidding on contracts. Be prepared to file contractor and subcontractor reports should you win a contract bid. Information you’ll need when filing your reports are prime contract numbers, contract information, individual subcontractor plans and financial reports.
Although small businesses don’t hire as many employees, per firm, as large corporations do, because there are larger numbers of small businesses (as of 2009 there were 27.5 million small businesses) than large corporations, it’s imperative that small businesses thrive. By participating in Department of Defense (DOD) regional councils, you may find new ways to win government grants and contracts, wins that can secure additional funding for your start-up or seasoned companies.
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http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbs/initiatives/councils/index.shtml (Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs)