How to describe this year's Government Procurement Conference? "Back to business!" declared Bob Jeffers, East Coast Events Manager for the Federal Business Council (FBC). "The government has a budget this year!"
Jeffers is seeing a much more optimistic attitude in the federal market in comparison to this time last year. Federal officials' participation in events that are local to them is on the rise, not least because they don't have to shell out travel money.
The 24th Annual Government Procurement Conference is quite simply the largest pan-federal small business event in the country. It takes place on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC, from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Who do you want to meet?
Whether you're looking to prime, sub, or both, once you register, you're eligible for matchmaking meetings, and it's not too late! As of March 15th, about 30% of sessions are still open. These 15-minute sessions offer the chance to connect with large primes as well as federal, state and local government buyers. FBC expects state and local representatives from Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Want to do business with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? The VA will be very strongly represented at this event by program managers – actual decision makers. VA will be hosting conference sessions that will have a special focus on construction opportunities. Get the best value from that session by reviewing the VA's forecast in advance at http://www.vendorportal.ecms.va.gov/eVP/fco/FCO.aspx.
Want to know if there will be set asides for your kind of small business? Or whether the procurements will happen as planned? This is where to get those answers.
Women business owners can get all the details about the Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contract (WOSB) Program at a session hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Better yet, get the basics before you come, and bring well-informed questions. SBA has a great new 30-minute multi-media online course on the WOSB program, available http://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/training/wosb-advantage.
For women business owners seeking opportunities with large corporations as well as with the federal government, I encourage you to look into the dual benefits of certification as a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Hundreds of the country's top corporations give preferred access to certified WBEs through their supplier diversity programs. WBE certification includes, at no charge, the option to apply for WOSB certification at the same time. Drop by the WBENC booth at the Government Procurement Conference to find out more.
In a follow-up post, I’ll provide tips for how to get the most value out of your time at the 2014 Government Procurement Conference.