Florida SBDC Network, Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity Team Up to Support Small Businesses

Ambassador Agreement aims to increase opportunities for Florida certified business enterprises

FSBDCN State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, today signed an Ambassador Agreement with the Florida Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) solidifying a partnership to increase contracting opportunities for Florida’s woman-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses. Florida SBDC Network Government Contracting Services Manager Jane Dowgwillo and OSD’s Executive Director Hue T. Reynolds signed the agreement today at the Florida SBDC at the University of South Florida’s 29th Annual Government Small Business Conference in Tampa as part of National Small Business Week.

L-R: Jane Dowgwillo, Florida SBDC Network Government Contracting Services Manager, and Hue T. Reynolds, OSD Executive Director, sign the agreement.

L-R: Jane Dowgwillo, Florida SBDC Network Government Contracting Services Manager, and Hue T. Reynolds, OSD Executive Director

The Office of Supplier Diversity serves as the state’s certifying agency for minority-owned (MBE), woman-owned (WBE) and veteran-owned (VBE) certification programs. Through these programs, which ensure that companies meet legal qualifications, certified businesses are the first tier referred to state agencies and other organizations seeking to include supplier diversity in their contract opportunities.

Historically, completion of the certification process has proven a hurdle for many small business owners who lack the time and resources for completion. The purpose of the agreement is to develop and foster a mutual understanding and working relationship between the Florida SBDC Network and OSD to increase the number of certified business enterprises in the state and to help businesses become more competitive with their bid proposals.

Florida SBDC Network, FDMS Office of Supplier DiversityUnder the agreement, OSD will serve as a point of contact for small business owners who seek information on the state’s certified business enterprise program and will refer, as appropriate, interested businesses to the Florida SBDC Network for contracting assistance. The Florida SBDC Network will, in turn, share information about OSD’s certification and re-certification requirements and assist client businesses in navigating the process, including compiling the documents necessary for state certification, applying for certifications and identifying bid opportunities.

The Office of Supplier Diversity is a specialized team within the Florida Department of Management Services and is responsible for helping woman-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses work with the State of Florida. A primary goal of OSD is to collaborate with organizations that also strive to promote small business development.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy,” said Chad Poppell, Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services. “Teaming up with the Small Business Development Center, we are better able to leverage state and federal resources to help woman-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses thrive in Florida.”

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016, the Florida SBDC Network provides tools, training and expertise to help small businesses grow and succeed. Through the network’s Government Contracting Services, professionally certified business consultants are available at no cost to assist Florida businesses in researching and bidding on contract opportunities from the Department of Defense, other federal, state, and local agencies, and prime contractors.

“Having resource partners such as OSD is vital to ensure that we can assist those small businesses in taking advantage of OSD certification programs,” said Jane Dowgwillo, Florida SBDC Network Government Contracting Services Manager. “This places small businesses in the best position for contracting with the State of Florida.”

For more information regarding the state’s MBE, WBE and VBE certification programs, visit www.dms.myflorida.com/OSD.

For more information regarding contracting assistance available through the Florida SBDC Network, click here.

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