HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A one-stop shop for small businesses to learn about upcoming Missile Defense Agency procurements is coming to downtown Huntsville for two days next week.
MDA’s Office of Small Business Programs and the National Defense Industry Association will host the 12th-annual Missile Defense Small Business Conference from July 23-24 at the Von Braun Center South Hall. The event is expected to bring roughly 500 visitors to the city center.
Lee Rosenberg, director of Small Business Programs, said participants will take part in boot camp sessions, briefings and a town-hall style meeting with top players in the industry. Fifteen-minute “matchmaking” sessions will also provide small businesses the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from members of the MDA Small Business Advisory Council, MDA Prime Contractors and regional OSBP offices.
“We try to get a community of small businesses who are interested in doing missile defense type work together to both put out information from the agency that’s important to them,” Rosenberg said.
Although the event is geared toward small businesses, Rosenberg said large companies are also encouraged to attend. Online registration closed this week, but participants can still register for the conference at the door.
The vast majority of attendees will be from the Tennessee Valley, but Rosenberg said they’re also expecting visitors from Washington, D.C., California and other U.S. states. Hotels, rental car services and restaurants – particularly in the downtown area – will see an influx of customers early next week, he said.
The Missile Defense Small Business Conference has been held in Huntsville since 2007, but was canceled last year because of sequestration. Despite spending cuts in 2013, Rosenberg said the MDA “has held its own pretty well” as missile threats continue growing.
“We are being much more cost-conscious going into the future,” he said. “We are looking at what we are investing our money in to make sure that we’re getting the biggest bang for the buck that we can going into the future because we just don’t have the resources like we used to.”
Rosenberg said a local small business specializing in graphics with no missile defense background attended the conference a couple of years ago and won a contract as a result of the connections he made.
“That’s just an example of some of the payoff that can occur from attending this conference,” he said.
July 18, 2014