How can SC APEX Accelerator Help Your Small Business: Conversations With Marketing and Communications Manager, Tenell Felder
- Christopher Barstow
- Saturday, March 25
If you are a small business owner who is interested in doing business with local, state or federal government, check out the South Carolina APEX Accelerator.
Please tell me a little about yourself and what you do at SC APEX Accelerator?
I am the Marketing and Communications Manager of SC APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC SC). I handle internal and external communications for SC APEX, as well as offer counseling to clients to assist them with their Capabilities Statements and marketing research. I am a graduate of Furman University (B.A. Communications and Political Science) and Syracuse University (M.A. Magazine, Newspaper, Online Journalism).
What services does your agency offer small businesses and what are the costs involved?
SC APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC SC) is an APEX Accelerator program under the Department of Defense’s Office of Small Business Programs. We assist South Carolina businesses interested in gaining federal, state and municipal government contracts. SC APEX counselors offer one-on-one sessions with clients to assist them with government contracting. Our five main areas of assistance are as follows: registration and certification assistance, solicitation review, proposal assistance, bid match, and marketing assistance. Our services provided at no cost.
What are the benefits of using your services vs. going it on your own?
Doing business with the government can be complicated, and there are businesses that will charge for the services we provide for free. SC APEX offers clients no cost, professional assistance in navigating the government marketplace. To date we have assisted our clients in gaining $5.8 million in awards from federal and state government agencies. We have also assisted approximately 30 businesses in gaining a socio-economic certification.
Is every business eligible use your services and do you have to register with the federal government to participate?
We have a government readiness checklist available on our website that we encourage those interested in our services to review before signing up. Generally, the business must be in South Carolina and should have the revenue and resources to fulfill a government contract if offered one today. Businesses must have a business plan and know what product or service they will sell to the government. If a business is not ready, we will refer them to one of our community partners to help them get ready. Businesses do not have to be registered as a federal government vendor (through System for Award Management, SAM) to participate. If a business is interested in registering to be a federal government vendor, we provide that service.
Are there certain types of businesses that federal government does business with and some they do not?
On both the federal and state levels, there are stipulations that will disqualify a business from being able to do business with the government (for example, being delinquent on taxes or not fulfilling a previous government contract). We can assist a business in determining if there are any impediments to them doing business with the government.
Are there special certifications for women, minorities or veterans?
Yes. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has socio-economic certifications that are used to qualify small businesses for federal government set asides (According to the SBA, set aside is when the federal government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. Those contracts are called set-asides, and they help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts). These certifications include Woman Owned Small Business, Veteran Owned Small Business, Service Veteran Owned Small Business, HUBZone and 8(a). We assist clients in applying for these federal certifications as well as state socio-economic certifications.
About how many small businesses are currently using your services?
We have about 800 active clients.
If the owner of a small business is not familiar with contracting/biding, will your agency help bring them up to speed?
Yes. We do not expect our clients to be experts in government marketing. We offer free training through webinars to help educate clients, as well as education through their counseling sessions. We assist beginners as well as those who are more familiar with government contracting.
If a business owner wants to contact you, what is the best way to do that?
We point those interested in our services to our website. If they review our checklist and determine they are ready for government contracting then they can sign up on our website. If accepted, a SC APEX representative will be in contact with them to assign a counselor. If someone has questions, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org