Event Origins

This Small Business & Industry Outreach Initiative (SBIOI) evolved from a simple beginning. In 2000, a local contractor initiated monthly breakfast meetings during which Small Businesses would present their capabilities directly to company Program Managers and Engineers – the people who could directly benefit from the Small Business Capabilities. This program proved so successful that eventually, the SPAWAR SADBU, the local SBA representative, and many other community Small Business advocates became involved. Although we now number our Quarterly Symposiums based on our first “official” symposium held on June 1st, 2006, it’s a little known fact that the first community symposium was actually held back in 2001 at the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). This first “trial” symposium was attended by about 30 individuals representing many Small Businesses. South Carolina Small Business Government Advocates presented their Small Business programs, and a local Large Business briefed the Small Businesseson “how to do business with us”, or an overview of what to expect when doing business with a large defense contractor. From this small gathering, the SBIOI was born. The initial objective of the SBIOI was to develop a database of small businesses for the government that was predicated on the “At-a-Glance” data sheets developed by the SPAWAR Small Business Advocate. As with all successful endeavors, the benefits of the SBIOI demonstrated significant rewards, started to evolve into a more structured meeting, and grew beyond expectations. The need for sponsorship was soon realized and CDCA along with the Lowcountry AFCEA Chapter took on the task of creating a more formal program, which is what the SBIOI reflects today. From a small community meeting of approximately 30 people, our symposiums continue to grow, with attendance in the hundreds. The success of the SBIOI would not have been possible without the dedication of a few individuals who are recognized as pioneers in this effort. Thanks to Dave Dobry, Mark Gadomski, and Josh Hatter for their dedication and support of the SBIOI