What You Missed at the Oklahoma ICBS Show
In business, networking and spending company funds to travel for future business is one expense every business must consider carefully, weighing the cost verses benefit.
This month, I attended the 12th annual Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network’s statewide matchmaking conference known as the ICBS Show. Lockheed Martin cosponsored the event put on by Oklahoma's two procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs).
The event allows businesses of all sizes to meet with companies working with the government and receive training on government programs like the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) certify.SBA.gov for small business certifications.
The second day, the matchmaker event offered 20 state and federal agencies as well as military bases the opportunity to meet one-on-one with companies. Company representatives had 10-15 minutes to sell their products and/or services for future government contracting opportunities. There were also prime contractors there networking with small businesses for future opportunities.
More than 300 companies participated in this two-day event. Representatives from five active military bases in Oklahoma participated in a panel on how businesses could find opportunities with them. Those present included: Tinker Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill, McAlester Army Plant, and Vance Air Force Base. They all have active contracting opportunities for small businesses.
Another highlight of the 2018 ICBS Show was the General Services Administration (GSA) session on how to be a government vendor, led by Albert Garza.
Garza has 29 years of government contracting experience and shared the process on how to become a GSA federal supply schedule vendor. He works out of the Ft. Worth GSA office and shows construction businesses how to work for the Public Building Services, which not only works on the five military bases but also manages the work in all federal court houses as well as other federal buildings. Nationwide there are 33 federal supply schedules and they have over 19,000 vendors and do billions of dollars of business.
Finally, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which purchases all military repair parts and stock items world-wide, showed a video. The video listed the many areas that small business are needed and how they can help provide the war fighter with the tools they need. DLA buys a wide range of products- from boots to missiles- and needs small business to fulfill their mission of providing what the branch of the Department of Defense needs.
When you are reviewing training and networking opportunities, remember the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center and other PTAC’s around the nation provide training and networking opportunities for small and large businesses to support the nation economic growth.