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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 9:10 am | Fair 41º


Outreach Event in Santa Maria Introduces Businesses to Federal Contract Opportunities

The event, organized by the Chamber of Commerce and the VAFB Small Business Programs Office, attracts nearly 400 people

Associated Traffic Safety’s Kellie Avila talks to Riley Chavis from I.T.‘S My Business during the 2015 Small Business Outreach Event held Wednesday at the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Associated Traffic Safety’s Kellie Avila talks to Riley Chavis from I.T.‘S My Business during the 2015 Small Business Outreach Event held Wednesday at the Santa Maria Fairpark. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Amid a sea of acronyms, hundreds of business people gathered Wednesday at the Santa Maria Fairpark to learn more about capturing contracts issued by federal government agencies.

The 2015 Small Business Outreach Event attracted nearly 400 people, where they heard presentations from several representatives and could meet with agencies and businesses one on one. 

The Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau put on the event in conjunction with the Small Business Programs Office at Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

The event is meant to help small businesses navigate the federal opportunities to land contracts from agencies such as the military, prisons and others.

“It’s not easy,” said Jeff Cuskey from the Monterey Bay Procurement Technical Assistance Center. 

small biz
Senior Airman Charles Gill of the 30th Contracting Squadron talks about Vandenberg Air Force Base business opportunities during the Small Business Outreach Event. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

His organization is one of many established by Congress to assist small businesses in obtaining and performing under federal, state and local government contracts.

“They want small businesses to get a piece of the government pie,” he said. 

The agency is funded in part through a cooperative agreement from the Department of Defense through a program that is administered by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Speakers introduced those in attendance to Historically Underutilized Business Zones, or HUBZone, a preference for a certified business located in an underutilized business area to encourage economic development.

This is the fourth year the event has been held in Santa Maria — instead of on base — in an effort to attract more business people. 

This year, the event was held in two buildings at the Fairpark as the business gathering continues to grow. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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