By Dolly Rairigh Glass

Tara Wagner remembers the day that a small business approached her after the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) monthly PALT meeting, and asked if the organization was holding any kind of forum exclusively for Small Business. Wagner, PEO STRI’s Deputy for Small Business Programs, said they weren’t but it got the wheels turning.

“It didn’t happen right away, but the idea kept resurfacing and sounding more and more like something we needed to do,” Wagner said. “Our team approached the NAWCTSD Small Business Office with the idea to partner, and we’re extremely happy with how the Small Business Information Forum has grown and what service it provides to the many small businesses who participate.”

peoStri-114PEO STRI, in partnership with the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), hosts the Small Business Information Forum Initiative (SBIFI) that follows the PEO STRI PALT sessions each month. Although the forum is open to all of Industry, topics for discussion center on small business.

“The interest has been overwhelming by the small businesses,” said Argentina Thompson, Deputy for Small Business, NAWCTSD. “We want to keep our topics meaningful and timely in this ever-changing acquisition environment. The Office for Small Business Programs is required to provide outreach, and the forum provides that service to the Small Business community.”

nawctsd-114Topics may vary and include the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) providing updates and information, or asking the small business partners for feedback on issues. It also provides large businesses an opportunity to brief the small business partners on how best to conduct business with them.

“We’re confident that building these partnerships is the best way to maximize the existing resources and leverage the great work already taking place in many areas,” said Randy Edney, Small Business Associate Director, PEO STRI. “Our first forum took place in November 2013, and we’ve continued to have positive feedback from attendees and know the important benefit it provides.”

The next SBIFI will brief the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) Program opportunities. It is March 11, from 10:15-11:15 a.m., in Partnership III Building, Room 321, and interested attendees are not required to RSVP. More information can be found on the Team Orlando calendar or by contacting either Argentina Thompson or Randy Edney.

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