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What does it take to create innovation in the defense industry? It takes willingness on the part of both the agencies and the companies to find new ways to collaborate. The phrase above, “taking violent action to scrape away barnacles”, was one used by Hondo Geurts, Acquisition Executive for US SOCOM, describing how to approach change in the acquisition system.

While there is little that small businesses in federal contracting can do to change the acquisition system, there are business strategies to add innovation, even within federal contracting. The SOFWerx program offers a place for innovation, with a goal of developing technologies needed immediately for military, that have crossover to the commercial markets.

As the SOFWerx and OpenWERX programs have developed and expanded, there are more ways to participate. Held the first Thursday of the month, “OpenWERX provides the general public with monthly opportunities to collaborate on innovative approaches relevant to SOCOM and other federal government agencies.”

When the SOFWerx programs were announced, one of the challenges made to industry was to create its own collaborative events. The Florida GovCon Summit is a collaborative event focused on small businesses in federal contracting, to learn more about technology trends that cross-over between federal and commercial, identify the business challenges faced by federal contracting regulation, and create a peer alliance for federal small business community.

As a small business in federal contracting, staying on top of the funding for technologies, finding the contracting opportunities, and managing the business for growth are are critical – and that’s what we’ll be talking about at the Florida GovCon Summit. This year’s theme is Teaming for the Bigger Federal Deals.

Keynotes are:

  • Jeff Piersall, CEO of i4Business Magazine and author of Dogs Don’t Bark at Parked Cars (Wed). Jeff describes how collaboration, partnership and trust are key to an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and gives examples of how Orlando’s technology community has developed.
  • Sid Fuchs, CEO of MacAulay-Brown and author of Get Off the Bench as keynote speaker (Thurs). Just named one of the top 25 leaders in Government Contracting by Washington Executive, Sid will discuss how you need to create relationships and develop long term strategies in order to be effective in your business.

Panels and breakouts include:

  • Technology Trends with speakers on machine intelligence, cyber-security, autonomous vehicles, software development, virtual reality, and sensor manufacturing. Speakers include: John Morrow of Morrow Consultants, Sean Carey of HD Interactive, Michael Ferris of Abacode, John Lambert of Nexutech, Jeff Young of Marjau Systems, and Julio Morris of BRIDG.
  • Cyber 360 with speakers on cyber-security, cyber law, DFARS 252.204.7012 compliance, HIPPA and FISMA compliance and network security practices.
  • Pipeline to Execution topics for pipeline management, business development, capture, proposal management, contracting issues and security clearances.
  • Entrepreneur Panel with Billy Hogan of AC4SBrian Butler of VISTRA CommunicationsSheri Dougherty of DAI Solutions, and Rod Duke of Qualis Corporation.
  • Are You Ready to Prime includes agency representatives and prime contractors discussing what level a small business must reach to effectively win and execute a prime contract.
  • Co-Opetition Collaboration – led by Mark Swanson to discuss growth strategies for the federal community
  • Other topics include Taking Care of Your Team, Growing your business through Joint Ventures, Building Value for Exit, Raising your Brand Profiles, and Understanding Price to Win.
  • Veterans Connection track will be held concurrently on Wednesday, March 29 to bring together group resources for transitioning veterans. Our goal is to make a master resource list for Tampa Bay. Veteran job seekers are invited to attend at no charge – e-mail Pete Blum to register – 

Register now for the 2017 GovCon Summit to learn and earn! Click here for more information or to register 

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for more information, please connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message.

Jenny W. Clark jwclark@solvability.com govconconference.com