Supplier Diversity Digest: A newsletter from the Office of Supplier Diversity
February 2017
OSD: Helping You in 2017

In 2016, the Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) renewed its focus on bringing value to small businesses who that have obtained certification. This focus will continue in 2017. After all, certification is critical for those businesses looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors. While we continue to make strides in streamlining the certification process for small business owners, we also remain committed to enhancing our outreach efforts to provide informative tools and resources to assist small businesses in pursuing government contracts.

Here are a handful of opportunities for your business to interact with and benefit from OSD’s resources in 2017:

  • Newly Certified Businesses. Did you know that, as a newly certified business enterprise, you are listed on OSD’s Newly Certified Businesses webpage? As an additional benefit, OSD promotes the list of newly certified businesses to state agency purchasing staff on a weekly basis. 
  • Come Meet Us. We invite you to join us at one of our many outreach events so you can learn more about the benefits of certification and how you can work with the state. Each year, OSD hosts four regional Supplier Diversity Exchange events, partners with universities for workshop training events and participates and presents at various business events.
  • Participate in the Mentor-Protégé Program. OSD’s Mentor-Protégé Program aims to strengthen small businesses through guidance and feedback from established businesses, or mentors. If you have a state contract and you’re interested in becoming a mentor and helping a small business develop, please contact OSD. For more information on this program, visit the Mentor-Protégé webpage.
  Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Helps Floridians Find Their Dream Job

Did you know Florida’s leading job search website and mobile app, Employ Florida, launched a new look at the beginning of 2017? The updated EmployFlorida.com improves the ease of Floridians’ job searches, helping them find their dream jobs. Updates to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s job search website include expedited registration, enhanced search functionality and customer-focused design. 

Small Business Update
Provided by the Florida SBDC Network

Federal government contract awards continue to be a source of sustainment and growth for many Florida businesses and a key economic driver in Florida. In fiscal year 2015, Florida had the seventh highest federal contract total spend by state, at a value of $13.6 billion. The top three markets for federal spending are defense and aerospace, professional services and information technology, which accounted for more than half of the reported spend in fiscal year 2015.


Interested in government contracting? Florida SBDC Network government contracting specialists provide high-value, confidential consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses—small or large, profit or non-profit—research and bid on government contracts from the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state and local agencies and prime contractors. To learn more about the Florida SBDC's government contracting services, please click here

Business Consulting
Provided by Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development Member Augusto Sanabria, PRESIDENT/CEO of Prospera (formerly HBIF) 

Owning a business can mean the realization of a lifelong dream. However, starting or owning a business can easily become overwhelming. While you may be an expert at the service or product your business offers, you may see the value in turning to resources that can guide you through other operational areas of your business. Here are some tips:
  • Prepare. Research and planning can help you minimize the uncertainties and pressure of growing a business. Just because you sell a product or service doesn’t mean that someone will want to buy it. Study the market, your ideal customers and your competition. Put a business plan on paper to clearly define where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.
  • Determine how much money you need. Evaluate what you have, what you need and what you could earn. Be conservative and consider initial costs. You should have on hand the total sum of your initial expenses plus six to 12 months of fixed costs. If you need financing for your business, what are your options to obtain it?
  • Consult the experts and recruit a team of advisors. Meet with a CPA and attorney before establishing the business or signing agreements. Take advantage of experienced professionals available to you for free. Several agencies exist solely to assist individuals who wish to start or grow a business. Since you determine the type of business you wish to start—or even if you’ve owned a business for years—a consultant can offer a fresh perspective and additional resources to help you resolve challenges or find new growth opportunities.
The SBDC, SCORE and Prospera (formerly HBIF) are just some of the agencies in Florida that can provide business consulting—at no cost to you. And they all offer additional resources such as training, access to capital and more. Starting and growing a business can be a challenging experience. Schedule initial appointments and decide which organization is best suited to assist you. But definitely consider accepting advice from these business consultants who can save you time and money. 
Veterans Florida 

Are you a veteran looking to start your own business? Or do you have an established veteran-owned business and are looking for more tips to become successful? Check out Veterans Florida, a non-profit organization poised to help veterans fully transition to civilian life. From connecting veterans to employers, granting funds to employers to hire and train veterans and educating veterans on how to open their own business in Florida, this organization may be just what you need in 2017. Recently, Veterans Florida launched its Entrepreneurship Program, which is available across seven participating state universities. While the registration period has closed, you may still learn about the program and register for the wait list at entrepreneur.veteransflorida.org.

For businesses that hire veterans, learn more about the Veterans Florida training grant program at veteransflorida.org/grant and sign up today.

OSD & FSU Workshop Series

The Office of Supplier Diversity and FSU's Procurement Services have joined together to present a Wednesday Workshop Series for Small Business. If you are in the Tallahassee area, we invite you to join OSD and FSU once a quarter in 2017 to learn about government contracting, the systems used in procurement activities and other programs offered to help small businesses.

Save the date for the entire workshop series (topic, location and time will change each quarter):

  1. February 15:
    OSD: Loan Mobilization and Mentor-Protégé Programs
    FSU: Learn the System
  2. May 17
  3. August 16
  4. November 15


Register at www.FSUOSD.eventbrite.com.

Quick Tips

OSD shares solicitation opportunities from state and local entities. Set a task reminder at least once a month to see what solicitations are posted on OSD’s Vendor Resource Announcements webpage.

How to Write a Business Plan. Understanding Your Customer. Introduction to Accounting. Marketing 101: A Guide to Winning Customers.


Sound interesting? Free self-paced online training courses on these topics (and more) are available on SBA’s Online Learning Center . 

MyFloridaMarketPlace University provides training opportunities specifically for vendors who want to do business with the State of Florida and want to view and respond to solicitations. Training is available online and in-person. A comprehensive list of all current training opportunities can be found on MFMP’s Training for Vendors webpage.

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The content of this newsletter is intended to serve as informational only.  It should not be construed as business advice or an endorsement of any particular organization by the Office of Supplier Diversity or the Florida Department of Management Services.