Frank Campo speaks to the audience at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Small Business Outreach Event.
Frank Campo speaks to the audience at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Small Business Outreach Event.

Business owners from Santa Maria and beyond learned last week there are millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars in contracts through Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) and other government agencies available for qualified small business owners.

Business owners and government officials spent the afternoon networking at the annual Vandendberg Small Business Outreach event at the Santa Maria Fairpark April 20. The event was co-sponsored by the Santa Maria Economic Development Commission and the Vandenberg 30th Space Wing Small Business Office.

The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for businesses owners to become better acquainted with the VAFB procurement process, as well as display their products and services to base personnel. Vandenberg Air Force Base leaders encouraged base officials and vendors with buying power to attend the annual event as a way of supporting the local economy and build valuable business relationships.

Detailed presentations were made by speakers from the air force base, as well as the Small Business Administration, the California Economic Development Department, the federal General Services Administration, among others. Copies of the presentation slides can be found on the Santa Maria Economic Development Commission website at www.santamariaedc.com.

DSC_9340While there are numerous websites that merchants and service providers can use to discover on-base opportunities, VAFB has taken it a step further by posting notices on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/30SWsmallbiz

Additionally, a step-by-step business registration guide can be found on www.fbo.gov.
Lt. Col. Amy Harshner said about 80 percent of the on-base services and supplies come from small business. In particular, she said government policy directs them to provide as much opportunity as possible to:
– Veteran-owned small business
– Service-disabled veteran-owned small business
– HUBZone small business
– Small disadvantaged business
– Women-owned small business concerns

More than a dozen contractors got one-on-one introductory meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers, thanks to coordination with the Small Business Administration. Several other small business exhibitors said they enjoyed the opportunity and picked up valuable leads from the event.