Small Business Conference 2017

  • Mauricio Vera welcomes guests

  • FY 2016 Small Business of the Year - The Kaizen Company

  • Exhibit Hall

  • Break-out Session on doing business with USAID missions

On June 28th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted its 10th Annual Small Business Conference, “USAID Partnering with America’s Small Businesses.” USAID recognizes the expertise, innovation, creativity, and passion that U.S. small businesses bring to its mission to end extreme poverty. To celebrate this unique partnership USAID hosted a one-day conference, attended by over 300 small business representatives, focused on celebrating the inclusion of U.S. small businesses as USAID's development partners both domestically as well as at USAID Missions.

The conference opened with remarks from Mauricio Vera, Director of USAID’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Mauricio then introduced Wade Warren, Acting Administrator of USAID, who provided remarks of the State of USAID and the value of small businesses in achieving the agency mission. USAID’s Acting Senior Procurement Executive, Mark Walther, presented next on the priorities for the Management Bureau’s Office of Acquisition and Assistance. Mauricio then introduced Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) who provided remarks via video on the value of small businesses to the economy and how small businesses can contribute globally. The last remarks were from Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Deputy Associate Administrator of Government Contracting and Business Development, Jackie Robinson-Burnette. Jackie’s remarks were on the exciting changes happening at the SBA and ways the SBA can assist small businesses. After Jackie finished her remarks a three person Q&A panel with Mauricio Vera, Mark Walther, and Jackie Robinson-Burnette was done with the small businesses. Many small businesses commented on how beneficially it was hearing from senior officials and getting an opportunity to ask them relevant questions. 

After the opening session, the attendees had options of attending breakout sessions about subcontracting, new avenues to partner with USAID, or visit the exhibit hall of agency bureau representatives, large prime contractor representatives, or other agency representatives. Over 16 large prime contractor representatives and three other federal agencies exhibited at the conference. Those federal agencies were U.S. Department of State (DoS), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). This was an opportunity for the U.S. small businesses to learn more about the priorities of USAID and other federal agencies. The small businesses were also able to better understand subcontracting with some of the large prime contractors. 

The “Lunch with Leaders and Awards Program” included the participation of many USAID senior leaders hosting tables with small business representatives. During the luncheon, USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA), Jim Bever, presented the internal and external "Small Business Champion" awards for the following categories:

  • Contracting Official of the Year, presented to Sharon Baker, Supervisory Contracting Officer
  • Mission Contracting Official of the Year, presented to Michael Ashkouri, Esq., Supervisory Contracting Officer
  • Program Official of the Year, presented to Kelly Saldana, Director, Office of Health Systems, Bureau for Global Health
  • Mission Program Official of the Year, presented to Moses Busiga, Monitoring and Evaluation/Health Information System Specialist
  • Bureau of the Year, presented to the Bureau for Africa
  • Mission of the Year, presented to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Mission
  • Large Business Partner of the Year, presented to Abt Associates
  • Small Business of the Year, presented to The Kaizen Company

In the afternoon, there were panel discussions on indirect costs rates, compliance regulations, best practices on how to work with USAID Missions, state of the socioeconomic programs, category management, and how to market to USAID and win your first contract. Exhibit Hall of agency bureaus, large prime contractor representatives, or other agency representatives continued in the afternoon. The USAID bureau representatives were technical and contract officials.  

The conference was organized to provide small business representatives with the opportunity to meet USAID leadership, acquisition, and technical staff. The conference attendees commented on how the conference was very productive and successful, and that they appreciated the opportunities to network with USAID officials and obtain valuable information on doing business with USAID.