Are you a Michigan small, minority owned business? Learn how more Michigan companies are getting defense contract opportunities.

Defense Small and Minority-owned Business Roundtable

In a diverse state like Michigan with thousands of companies engaged in direct federal contracting or supplying goods and services to the government, you would think that there would be hundreds of companies benefiting from set asides for small and minority owned contractors. But, that is simply not the case.

Turns out that Michigan has only 73 companies certified 8A, and so, on Friday September 18, the Michigan Defense Center began a conversation with business leaders and associations representing the hundreds of minority businesses in the state to figure out how we can assist companies in deriving benefit from this government program.

The roundtable participants heard opening remarks from Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. Participants included Marie Gapinski- U.S. Army Office of Small Business Associate Director, Jeanne Schabath-Lewis – General Dynamics Land Systems Supply Chain Manager, Thomas Vargo – U.S. Small Business Administration Lead Business Opportunity Specialist, Jim Foucher – RBV Contracting Vice President, Vicki Selva-Executive Director, Dustin Frigy-Resource Program Manager, both from the Michigan Defense Center.

Participation from business organizations included Wayne County Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Area Black Business (GRABB), Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Goldman Sachs 10k SB, Gun Lake Tribe, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council, SBDC Region Directors, The Right Place Inc., Lakeshore Steel Works, Lakeshore Advantage, Resolute Education Solutions, and Infinite Technologies LLC.

Great discussions and suggestions about how to increase company awareness and interest in seeking certification as well as adding value to the federal program were shared.

To keep this conversation going and to develop a strategy to get more Michigan companies certified, the MDC will schedule a follow up meeting to take place in January 2021. 

Stay tuned for the developments on how Michigan will increase the accessibility of the 8(a) Certification program. If you are part of a business organization representing small and minority owned businesses in Michigan and would like to join the conversation, please contact Callie Oppertshauser, MDC’s Communications Specialist.

If your company is interested in seeking 8(a) certification, visit the Michigan Small Business Administration.  For resources, contact your local PTAC.