FORT CARSON, Colorado (Feb. 28, 2019) -- More than 100 local small business owners gathered at Colorado Technical University to learn about contract opportunities with the Army and Fort Carson Feb. 19, 2019.

The Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Carson contracting office hosted the event in an effort to educate and inform small business vendors about the requirements Fort Carson is looking to fill this year.

During his opening remarks, Col. Ike Sallee, the chief of staff for the rear detachment of the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, said the division continues to be one of the most deployed divisions in the Army.

"The Army has recognized that it needs to accelerate the way it does procurement and research and development so that we can maintain our edge in equipment and Soldier performance," Sallee said. "It's encouraging to see people here with an entrepreneurial spirit who can think outside the box and aren't wed to old, lethargic ways of thinking."

Event organizers invited professionals from the MICC, the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center and other local procurement agencies in to inform attendees on a variety of topics related to the Army procurement process.

"Many small business owners want to compete for Army contracts, but that process can be overwhelming, and many business owners simply don't know where to start," said Angela Arwood-Gallegos, the small business specialist for MICC-Fort Carson. "That is probably the biggest concern for small business owners. So, we're hoping to bridge that gap in knowledge and help them find mentors who can get them started on the right track. For others who are somewhat familiar with Army processes, this serves as refresher training."

MICC-Fort Carson has a variety of forecasted requirements to fulfill the post's mission to train and prepare Soldiers for deployments during the next year, including facilities and support services, construction, accommodations and food services, manufacturing, professional and technical services as well as information technology and services.

Outreach to small businesses across socioeconomic categories is especially important to increase the federal government's goals to put money back into local communities and businesses and assist disadvantaged businesses. MICC-Fort Carson contracting professionals help manage these goals by monitoring how much money is set aside for businesses and the percentage of contracts being awarded.

"The MICC small business program's desire is to continue to maintain small business transparency to drive business results," said Arwood-Gallegos. "We are looking to increase participation of the small business socioeconomic categories such as women-owned small businesses and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses."

MICC-Fort Carson hosts a small business acquisition forecast open house event each year to fulfill the MICC commanding general's directive to expand small business vendor awareness of MICC procurements.

In fiscal 2018, MICC-Fort Carson awarded $84 million in contracts of which 93 percent of that went to small businesses.

"This type of event gives small business owners a friendly face and some awareness of what they can anticipate happening in the future," said Rod Cameron, deputy director for MICC-Fort Carson. "This way, they can start to unravel some of the bureaucracy and have an opportunity to both take part in the Fort Carson mission and develop their business to next level. We're looking to develop local small businesses and help them grow within a structured environment, even if it's just to help them get their foot in the door."

Event organizers capped the open house with a networking session for business owners, who had a chance to meet each other as well as talk directly with prime contractors that operate on Fort Carson.

About the MICC:
Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.