DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- How can small businesses position themselves for success in the U.S. Government-contracting world?

The answer to that question was the focus of Dugway Proving Ground's Mission and Installation Contracting Command open house recently at Salt City Community College in Sandy, Utah.

The open house offered 118 individuals from 93 small businesses information about the MICC contracting command structure, Dugway's chemical and biological testing mission and forecast the FY17 contract requirements for the installation's garrison and test center.

"Most [attendees] came to understand the gauntlet associated with federal contracting," said Jim Keetch, Dugway's MICC director.

Topics covered Dugway's mission and its capabilities, the fiscal year small business results, subcontracting opportunities, how the government's purchase card (credit card) is used for contract payments, and Dugway's top procurement requirements for 2017.

Keetch said the event was a huge success on many different fronts, calling it a "significant opportunity" to interact with the small business community and introduce them to how to contract with Dugway.

The event also highlighted the tight partnership the Utah Governor's Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which helps Utah small businesses find, bid and win procurement opportunities with federal, state, and local level marketplaces.

"Each person comes looking for just that particular 'nugget' they need at that particular time," Keetch said. He noted that the Utah assistance center commented several times leading up to the open house that this was the most people they have ever registered for an outreach event.

Attendees were presented informational briefings about the General Services Administration, Small Business Administration, Procurement Center, and FedBid, an online marketplace to buy goods and services needed by the government.

Specific to Dugway, attendees learned how to obtain security clearances and how to meet requirements for which they have contracted. The open house was also a good review of set-aside and sole-source award contracts for special competition.

At least five percent of contracts in the Federal government each year are awarded to each of three business categories: woman-owned, disadvantaged-owned, and a HUBZone-- a Historically Underutilized Business Zones located on Native American Tribal land, or on military installation land closed by a base realignment. At least three percent is given to service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses.

In 2016's fiscal year (October to September), Dugway's MICC allocated the following percentages: Small business 57.72 percent; Disadvantaged Business, 31.09 percent; Disabled Veteran-Owned,14.62 percent; Woman-Owned business, 20.20 percent; and HUBZone received 2.09 percent, making Dugway a productive place in Utah for small businesses.

Overall the event was an "excellent opportunity" for small businesses to learn about the marketing, service codes and classification systems needed to begin the certification process to develop a capabilities brief in response to a government contract request, Keetch said.