Supplier Diversity Digest: A newsletter from the Office of Supplier Diversity
October 2017
Supplier Diversity Exchanges
 Picture this: Instead of individually identifying, calling and attempting to schedule separate meetings with local and state buyers, you could attend a free networking event and meet directly with representatives from 20 to 30 governmental agencies all in one day’s work! While this might seem like a dream, such an event is real and exists—the Supplier Diversity Exchange.

The Supplier Diversity Exchange, offered by the Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD), is a forum for local small businesses to interact with state, county and federal government representatives. Typically, the one-day event includes short presentations, training sessions, networking opportunities and several one-on-one interviews between the representatives of both the small businesses and government entities.

In August, OSD and Broward College hosted more than 200 attendees at the South Florida event. On October 4, OSD will present the Supplier Diversity Exchange as part of Big Bend MED Week.

If you are interested in participating in this power-packed networking event, save the date for these upcoming exchanges:
  • November 2, 2017: Orlando Supplier Diversity Exchange hosted by OSD, the University of Central Florida and Diverse Strategic Alliance. Register here.
  • February 6, 2017: Pensacola Supplier Diversity Exchange hosted by OSD and the City of Pensacola. 
Hurricane Irma: Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Attention, small business owners: As a result of Hurricane Irma, Governor Scott has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

This program provides a source of expedient cash flow to small businesses in Florida that have been physically and/or economically impacted by the storm. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer-term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

Visit for loan details, application deadline, instructions on how to apply and more. 
Small Business Update: Disaster-Related Contracting Opportunities
Provided by the Florida SBDC Network

While final damage estimates from Hurricane Irma are still being calculated, it is evident that cleanup after the storm will be a monumental task. Although federal, state and local officials have likely reached out to already-registered contractors for cleanup work, the widespread impact of the storm may prompt them to cast a wider net for potential contractors.

For small businesses interested in disaster-related contracting opportunities, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network recommends heeding the following advice from the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC):
  • Register your company in all applicable databases (see list below) and ensure company information is accurate, complete (including detailed capabilities listing) and consistent.
  • Make sure your company is well-represented online, including a clear description of the goods and services your company offers and a link to your catalog.
  • Actively research contracting opportunities and pursue them.

For federal and state opportunities, businesses must have the following registrations:

  • The Florida Emergency Supplier Network (FESN), led by the Department of Management Services, coordinates supplier information for state and local agencies. Registration with FESN is required. For more information, click here.

  • Some local government agencies also have disaster/emergency vendor registration. For a list of local agency websites, click here.

The Florida SBDC Network, through its Government Contracting Services, stands ready to assist small businesses in securing disaster-related contracting opportunities. To learn more, click here
Provided by Jay Narang, Vice Chair, Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development

Jay Narang, the Vice Chair of the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development, attended OSD and Broward College’s Supplier Diversity Day on Friday, August 25. More than 200 participants were on hand to hear the panel discussion on MBE Barriers in Public Contracting, Agency Progress & Accomplishments. The panel discussion was moderated by President/CEO of the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, Beatrice Louissant. The City Commissioners of Coconut Creek also issued a proclamation recognizing Supplier Diversity Day.

Following the discussion, attendees met with 35 exhibitors. The Office of Supplier Diversity then hosted a business exchange in the afternoon with 22 local, state or federal agencies. Small business owners had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with agencies to directly promote their goods and services.

“This unique networking opportunity for small businesses provides a bridge to connect small business owners with government buyers,” said Vice Chair Narang. “I was impressed by the energy level throughout the day, and want to thank Broward College and OSD for putting together a memorable event.”

Advisory Council member Julius Davis, President & CEO of VoltAir Consulting Engineers, also attended the event.
Veterans Florida
Provided by Veterans Florida

In addition to the Advanced Entrepreneurship Program, Veterans Florida offers two different pathways for veteran entrepreneurs. Online courses are available to help veterans learn the basics of entrepreneurship at their own pace. On-campus workshops are available for veterans with early-stage ideas. More information is available here .
All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
Provided by the Small Business Administration North Florida District Office

On October 1, 2016, the Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting applications for the new All Small Mentor-Protégé Program. This program is open to all small businesses and seeks to develop strong protégé firms through mentor-provided business development assistance. The primary goal of the program is to help protégés successfully compete for government contracts. The program is modeled after the successful SBA 8(a) Mentor Program.
As a protégé in the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, businesses are eligible to form a joint venture (JV) with their SBA-approved mentor. The JV may compete for federal contracts and subcontracts based on their size and status. For example, the JV can compete for a small business set-aside contract regardless of the mentor’s size, as long as the protégé is small. The JV venture could qualify for award of a HUBZone contract, if certified as a HUBZone firm.

Potential protégés are encouraged to seek business management assistance from their local SBA district office or from one of SBA’s many resource partners .

The Business Development Division at the SBA North Florida District Office sponsors and participates in a number of outreach and networking events with various organizations such as the Florida Office of Supplier Diversity and others throughout the year. Contact your local SBA office to hear about upcoming events and to learn how your company might participate in the All Small Mentor-Protégé program.
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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.