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On Wednesday, OPM brought its annual small business conference to Morgan State University’s Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management in the heart of Baltimore. There I met Jackie Boone.

Her story is a perfect example of the work OPM and the Administration are doing in communities all across the country to help entrepreneurs grow and develop their businesses.

Jackie founded Boonerang Consulting, a Baltimore company that provides insurance, management, and facilities consulting services, primarily to government clients.

As part of the Administration’s efforts to support entrepreneurs like Jackie, this past summer a Federal team from across government encouraged Goldman Sachs to increase its small business development efforts in Baltimore HUBZone communities. With help from the Small Business Administration and Baltimore City Hall, Goldman selected five local businesses to enroll in its 10,000 Small Business Initiative program. This 13-week national program helps small business leaders develop and grow their companies. It’s just the kind of public-private partnership that the Administration is spearheading across the country.

Boonerang Consulting was one of the businesses chosen. The program, Jackie says, helped transform her 7-year old business. It provided her with a clear growth plan, including how she could expand into the private sector market and connecting her with new clients and a national network of business experts.

At our event on Wednesday, Jackie met an official from GSA and the two are already talking about how Boonerang, which already has two contracts with the U.S. Army, can work with GSA in the future.

Events like OPM’s, she says, “are well worth my time, even if I get just one new piece of information.” And Wednesday, she said, she got a lot more than that.

Entrepreneurs like Jackie are the very business owners we are trying to reach, especially in inner cities like Baltimore and at campuses like Morgan State.

I’m very proud that OPM is the first Federal agency to partner with an Historically Black College to host its small business event. It was a great match. In all of our work at OPM – whether in helping agencies hire the best talent or working with our small business contractors – we stress the importance of diversity and inclusion, which is also a key priority for the President.

At Wednesday’s event, OPM’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, seven other government agencies and six private sector firms were on hand to help local business owners learn what they need to do to successfully bid for government contracts.

In fiscal year 2014, the Federal Government awarded nearly $92 billion in small business contracts. And, in fiscal year 2015, OPM surpassed its goal of awarding 25 percent of our contracts to small businesses. In fact, last year we awarded more than one third - 34 percent – of our contracts to small businesses.

Events like our small business conference in Baltimore not only help inform business owners like Jackie about the Federal contracting process and what they can do to compete, they help OPM and our fellow agencies learn what more we must do to help work with and support the American economy’s fastest-growing sector – small business.Acting Director Beth Cobert and Jackie Boone together at the small business conference.


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