Business Leadership Series: Government Contracting 101

The U.S. Federal Government spent over $350 billion in 2015 for goods and services, so this is an interesting topic for participants who want to learn more about the opportunities for small business to get a piece of the pie (approx. $90 billion).

The first speaker, Kevin Young, Veteran Management Consultant for Federal Government Contracting strategy, marketing and business development, gave the audience valuable tips and techniques oun how to successfully target, engage, win and sustain business with the U.S. Federal Government.

Over 35-plus years, Kevin has seen first hand the complexity, cyclicality and competitiveness of government procurements. Business to government ‘minefields’ include contract award slippages, FAR and audits, security clearance, regulatory compliance and more. Active contractors estimate they committed, on average, more than $115,000 in cash and staff resources seeking opportunities. The key is to do a comprehensive SWOT analysis to understand if your business meets the general requirements and can leverage certifications to sell direct, through GSA schedules, through prime contractors and other avenues.

Chanel Bankston-Carter, Director of Strategic Outreach and Communications, Department of Veterans Affairs at OSDBU was the next presenter. She discussed how to be prepared for procurement opportunities, differentiators and small business tips of the trade. OSDBU enables veterans to gain access to economic opportunity by leveraging the federal procurement system and expanding participation.

The key to success is being prepared by asking the right questions, and having your elevator speech prepared to answer questions like what does it mean for you? Differentiators are unique features or benefits of a product, or aspects of a brand that set you apart. Make sure you are verified before visiting the website to begin the engagement process. Chanel ended her presentation with an invitation to the 2016 NVSBE conference in Minneapolis, MN on November 1-3, 2016.

Wes Bennett, Division Director for Services Contracting at DARPA, was the final speaker to talk about DARPA’s mission and technical offices, as well as how they buy research and development and services and supplies. DARPA is unique because of their structure and their mission for breakthrough technologies for national security. They provide pivotal early investments that change what’s possible, so companies that work with DARPA must have the best technical solution (revolutionary, innovative concepts) and highly competent personnel. R&D covers 90% of DARPA’s budget, and typically the term is two (2) years of intensive work. Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) are two ways to learn more about opportunities. For services, refer to RFPs and RFQs through GSA e-buy and more.


Chanel Bankston-Carter
Director of Strategic Outreach and Communications, OSDBU Department of Veterans Affairs
Wes Bennett
Division Director for Services Contracting DARPA
Kevin Young
Veteran Management Consultant for Federal Government Contracting Strategy, Marketing and Business Development