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Increasing Opportunities for Small Businesses

Posted April 8, 2003

GSA's Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) advocates for small, minority, and women business owners. Its mission is to promote increased access to GSA's nationwide procurement opportunities. The OSBU has 11 regional centers located throughout the United States.

The OSBU provides and participates in outreach sessions that present vendors with marketing strategies and information about the federal procurement process. These events offer the unique opportunity for the contracting community and federal agencies to come together.

During the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2003, the regional centers held major networking sessions in Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Stephen Perry, the administrator of GSA, and Felipe Mendoza, the associate administrator for GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization, spoke at all the events. GSA’s regional administrators and the assistant regional administrators of each of GSA’s business lines addressed their respective audiences. Approximately 1,500 small business owners attended these three events.

At each event, Administrator Perry iterated the OSBU’s aggressive plan for encouraging the inclusion of small businesses in GSA’s procurement activities. The main thrust of the plan is making the benefits of using small businesses known to GSA acquisition professionals early in the procurement process. Also stressed was the importance of the GSA Schedules Program. This program maintains a broad range of products and services that are certified as meeting accepted levels of expertise, performance, and value. Other federal agencies, and some state and local government agencies, have come to depend on the quality of the products and/or services provided on GSA Schedules.

The networking sessions offer the unique opportunity for businesses to receive information from all three of GSA’s major services—Federal Supply Service (FSS), Public Buildings Service (PBS), and Federal Technology Service (FTS)—at one time! The events also provide:

  • information to small businesses on how they can successfully penetrate the federal contracting process
  • networking to discuss potential subcontracting opportunities between GSA prime contractors and small businesses
  • counseling to the small business community provided by the OSBU staff and regional FSS, FTS, and PBS contracting experts
  • workshops on marketing strategies, techniques, and the electronic procurement process.

Other scheduled events in which GSA’s OSBU will participate include:

  • U.S. Department of Treasury’s 13th Annual Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Conference at the Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in April 2003
  • U.S. Department of Energy’s 4th Annual Small Business Conference “Securing Economic Freedom-Empowering Small Business” Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 2003
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency’s 21st Annual National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference, “Strategies for Growth in the American Economy, Part III: The Global Economy,” Washington, DC, in September and October 2003

It is expected that over 6,000 registrants will attend these major conferences. Information on future events of this nature may be found under “Events” on the GSA OSBU web page.

Small Businesses Opportunities