Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gallatin Group 1st "Technology Summit"

Not quite what I'd expected but I learned a few things - and met some good folks and potential allies.

The two key speakers talked about the DOD acquisition process and the Congressional budgeting process.

Good news: Plenty of opportunities for small/new firms to get involved. No shortage of talented people who will help you.

Bad news: It takes work and serious planning ahead (of course, for the more devoted of you, that only weeds out the amateurs!)

Note: They gave us a binder with a Guide to DOD Contracting and the PPT slides. Not sure what's available online, but any of you want a copy, let me know.

As usual, some of the very best intel came from side comments, such as:

Get thee to FedBizOpps [I'd add] and register. You can get alerts sent to you based on the keywords you choose.***

Also, it really helps to get on the Central Contractor Registry & make sure you have your DUNS and CAGE numbers, etc.
You also need to ID which set-aside categories you qualify for.

After Wendy Jordan's take on the bureaucracy entailed in DOS acquisition, I was a little daunted but was emphatic that more entrepreneurs should get involved in government contracting & procurement.
she had some hints -
* put your product/service on the GSA's "schedule"
* identify lead contractors who you could subcontract for
* get expert legal help, as they can help you write winning contracts
* And.. Have a great story. And that's still the entrepreneurs edge.
[google on anti- hemorrhage bandages from shrimp shells]

Procurement dollars are bigger, but fewer (I heard an avg $11 million)
R & D dollars are smaller, but more frequent (~$1 million)

Be ready by early February - that's when the next numbers are released - what I heard was that if you want in, especially for procurement, you may have a month to make your case. Have that killer white paper ready in advance.

"Dual Use" - if you've got something with excellent commercial potential, that makes DOD very happy unless of course it's sensitive technology. Otherwise, dual use is a BIG plus and (as Mr. Ritter would say) you should be thinking that way anyhow!

Dennis Kedzior talked budget - he had some some great charts (if a bit frightening) about the growth of the federal budgets.

What really hit me, though, was that work on the FY 2009 budget started in February 2007. Twenty (20) months.
[So if you want to make the President's budget, there are people with a 20-month head start. So if you've got something that a federal entity should buy... start NOW. Especially if you're going for a "Congressional Interest Item"! LOL]

p.s. and don't forget SBIR/STTR. Idaho is starting to get traction, thanks to Rick Ritter & TechConnect (and Mark & Brian at Commerce) but we're still leaving money on the table. (If you're not from Idaho, ignore this! LOL)

In sum, I'm not sure I would have labeled this a "tech summit" but a welcome reminder that procurement and R&D opportunities abound... if you're willing to put in the effort (and to listen to those with expertise.)

Regardless, it's clear that the Gallatin Group has added their voice here. I fully expect there will be more events, whether they organize them or help others. I do think that they'll get feedback from attendees as to what would make sense in future events. I was certainly pleased to meet Joe Hardy from their DC office and finally meet local partner Marc Johnson. (Thanks too to McKinsey Miller for hooking me up for this.)


*** since 'economic development' is one of mine, I keep gtting alerted to a sizable rural ec dev opportunity in rural.... Afghanistan.


Blogger Judy Bradt said...

Before diving into all those "tips" about registrations and web site, remember that the most important set-aside is your TIME -- to look at your own business and figure out, first, whether the effort and time and money and resources it will take to pursue this business fits your business strategy.

Judy Bradt
Principal, Summit Insight

8:07 AM  

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