Arkansas APEX Accelerator Success Story: SMART Repro
In business since March 2021, SMART Repro is a USDA-inspected and approved small ruminant semen and embryo collection facility in Jonesboro. The center is dedicated to highlighting decades-long work of American sheep and goat producers to the international market.
The company is the first and only USDA-inspected and approved multi-country, European Union, and UK center certified in the collection, cryopreservation, export, and import of small ruminant semen and embryos. SMART Repro is also a woman-owned small business biotech startup, which partners with individuals, international governments, and non-governmental agencies.
Under the direction of CEO and Export Coordinator Brittany Scott and Research and Grant Writer Christina Ballard, SMART Repro was one of four businesses awarded a government contract with the Department of Defense in January 2023. The government was searching for a specific type of goat known as Spanish Wether. Although the contract is not scheduled to start until later in the year, SMART Repro staff is taking the initiative to be ready to fulfill the contract when/if they are called upon to do so.
Crediting former Procurement Counselor Debra Garcia for knowledge gained while applying for a past Department of Agriculture contract, Ballard also regularly uses a system of searching System for Award Management (SAM), using a list of related search words that have evolved throughout her searches. Through her experience and techniques, she discovered the Department of Defense solicitation and contacted Arkansas APEX Accelerator for assistance in securing the contract.
SMART Repro became a client in August 2021 when Scott was undergoing business ownership changes and was referred to us by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC). Garcia was also credited for assisting with their Women-Owned Small Business certification application and attaining her Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, now called Unique Entity Identification (UEI).
Ballard worked with Procurement Counselor Tim Hicks on bid review, submission, and award requirements. Savanna George, a client intake specialist, was also crucial in the journey providing SAM renewal, escalation, and Commercial and Government Entity assistance. Ballard mentioned that all the APEX Accelerator staff she has been fortunate to work with had brought a unique skill set.
“Because of the assistance (I received) with SAM.gov, I now feel very comfortable navigating SAM.gov on my own,” Ballard said. “The staff always finds time to work me into their schedules and never makes me feel as though I am asking dumb questions.”
Scott values the monthly newsletter and frequently watches recordings of Arkansas APEX Accelerator trainings to gains valuable information.
“The APEX Accelerator is a great asset to partner with. As a small business owner, it is impossible to navigate the government marketplace requirements without their assistance,” she said.
Ballard offers the following advice for other businesses embarking on their government contracting journey:
- Quality capability statements are beneficial.
- Never give up, as there seems to be a vast array of available contracts.
- Do NOT wait until the last minute to renew your entities. A suggestion is to begin prepping 45 days before expiration.
To utilize the no-fee services offered by the Arkansas APEX Accelerator or to learn more about our services, please reach out to us at APEX@uada.edu.