Face Time Benefits Small and Large Businesses

February 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor
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AFCEA’s Small Business team is hosting a partnership symposium during the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference that features one-on-one meetings between large companies and small businesses to determine partnering potential. The event takes place in the Constitution and Independence ballrooms at the Grand Hyatt, Washington, D.C., on February 26, 2013, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Through a separate registration, interested participants can sign up for a limited number of matchmaking appointments, which will run concurrently with plenary sessions to maximize the value of attendees’ time at the Homeland Security Conference. Appointments are arranged prior to the event and will pair the desired core capabilities and past performance participating prime contractors identify of interest with those small businesses offer. The matchmaking events have become so popular that appointment slots fill quickly. Companies that want to participate in the event at the Homeland Security conference, for example, should get on the wait list immediately.

“Our primary goal is to connect small businesses and primes to discuss partnering and teaming opportunities,” Dawn Falsinotti, coordinator, small business programs, AFCEA, explains. “Concurrently, we have a speaker session going on so that attendees can sit in on the plenary for content, which is always relatable to the agency we’re highlighting. The focus organization for this event is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), so plenary topics will concentrate on serving the DHS customer.”

The previous four matchmaking events have involved between 17 and 19 prime contractors and approximately 40 small companies. “This is a reasonable size and allows the small businesses 15-minute sessions with each of the three primes with which they’ve been matched,” Falsinotti explains. A networking area also is set up between the speaker session location and the rooms where the matchmaking takes place, she adds.

Members of AFCEA’s Small Business Committee select the companies that will meet, and companies without common ground will not be paired, Falsinotti emphasizes. “The difference between AFCEA’s matchmaking events and others is that a subcommittee does the pairing by hand. A lot of due diligence goes into making the right matches. The past four symposiums have been very well received with tons of positive feedback. Usually the feedback is, ‘When is the next one scheduled?’” she shares.

This year, the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference takes place February 26-28 in a new venue, the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. Additional information about the Small Business Symposium is available online or by contacting Dawn Falsinotti at 703-631-6190.

Prime contractors invited to participate in the one-on-one meetings include Alion Science & Technology, AT&T, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, Deloitte, General Dynamics Information Technology, Harris, IBM, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SAIC, Serco, Worldwide Technology and Xerox/ACS.

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