As we’ve previously mentioned, APEX Accelerator programs (formerly Procurement Technical Assistance Centers / PTACs) throughout the United States are now being managed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). While much of the government contracting assistance available for businesses from APEX Accelerators like ours will remain unchanged, the update to the program name is more than just a simple rebranding.
According to the DoD’s Small Business Strategy published in January 2023, “Although the Department has achieved its small business prime contracting goal for the past eight years, the number of small business(es) participating in the defense industrial base has declined by over 40 percent in the past decade.” The DoD is interested in attracting both new and previous contractors to pursue their contract opportunities, and they’ve identified APEX Accelerator programs as a helpful resource to aid in reversing this concerning downward trend. It’s clear from the strategy (see pg. 19) that the DoD is planning to increase the utilization of our program by working with us to make more outreach and training opportunities available for businesses and for the APEX Accelerators to help the federal government to gain insight into industry trends and challenges.
As we continue to get a clearer picture of these efforts, we’ve learned how one new focus for our program is to increase the number of DIB and GIB-ready clients. “DIB” refers to the Defense Industrial Base. “GIB” is a broader category of Government Industrial Base, which applies to federal civilian agencies, state agencies, counties, cities, and public educational institutions.
What does the DoD OSBP consider to be a DIB and/or GIB-ready contractor? Typically, a business would have several of the following traits:
- Has the necessary business controls and skills to perform on contracts.
- Has created a Capability Statement (marketing form to use with the government) and developed a competitive marketing strategy.
- Is a responsible contractor.
- (for DIB) Has registered in the System for Award Management (gov)
- (for GIB) Has registered in state and local registration systems as appropriate.
- Is aware of applicable federal, state, and/or local regulations and requirements.
- Understands and is progressing toward required cybersecurity compliance.
- Recognizes eligibility for socioeconomic contracting programs and has either applied or self-certified as appropriate.
In support of these goals, our CIRAS APEX Accelerator will likely be connecting with our existing clients, as well as past federal contractors, to learn more about what assistance on the above list Iowa businesses need. Our program is excited about our revamped focus, and we look forward to helping more businesses make meaningful improvements toward becoming better-positioned in pursuit of government contracting and subcontracting opportunities. If you’d like to talk with us about becoming DIB and GIB-ready, reach out to your CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist or fill out our Request for Counseling form!