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Office continues small businesses outreach

23 small businesses participated in a Pitch Day event  November 15, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, hosted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Approximately $15 million in U.S. Air Force contracts were awarded. (Courtesy photo)

23 small businesses participated in a Pitch Day event November 15, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, hosted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Approximately $15 million in U.S. Air Force contracts were awarded. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) operates, what has remained the same is AFLCMC’s focus on reaching out and connecting with small businesses.

“We’ve had to be more creative and expand our outreach in ways that weren’t used in the past [prior to COVID-19], and it’s paying off,” said Luke Schultz, director of AFLCMC’s Small Business Office.

Since March, the Small Business Office has held a number of virtual events, and has seen an increase in the number of businesses it has been able to reach.

Recently, the office virtually participated in the annual Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower (AFITC) Education & Training event, which attracted thousands of attendees who had a chance to hear about small business opportunities with AFLCMC.

This year alone, approximately $105 million has been set aside for small businesses, part of which has been used for COVID-19 response efforts.

Some of the ways small businesses have helped AFLCMC respond to COVID-19 include increasing nasal swab production and test kits, emergency cleaning sanitation and disinfection services, laboratory courier services, as well as increasing rubber glove and N95 mask production.

“It has been an all hands effort fighting this pandemic,” said Schultz. “Small businesses have been a key partner in the fight, and are crucial to ensuring we are able to complete the National Defense Strategy.”

Small businesses have been key partners prior to COVID and will continue to play an important role in the Air Force’s success in the future.

“Look for ways to support the Air Force,” said Schultz, as he talked about advice he gives small businesses. “Make sure you are aware of industry days, and are plugged into program requirements. Also develop strategic partnerships. If you are not able to be the prime on an opportunity, make sure you are making those strategic partnerships for subcontracting opportunities.”