The Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center — part of the Cooperative Extension Service — is changing its name to Arkansas APEX Accelerator, but its mission to boost small businesses remains the same.
Melanie Berman, extension program director of Arkansas APEX Accelerator, said the name change reflects the program’s purpose to help small businesses in the state thrive through government contracting. It’s part of the economic development of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“‘Apex,’ by definition, means the highest point of something, and we hope to achieve that in the level of service our program provides to Arkansas businesses in the field of government contracting,” Berman said. “We will accelerate Arkansan entrepreneurship through the technical assistance we provide to businesses in our home state.”
The name change coincides with the program moving from the Defense Logistics Agency to the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs under a memorandum of understanding, which was signed between the DOD and the Small Business Administration last December.
More than 95 centers around the country will change to the new name. Berman said the APEX Accelerators program “plays a critical role in the department’s efforts to identify and engage with a wide range of businesses entering and participating in the defense supply chain.”
“The program provides the education and training that all businesses need to participate in to become capable of securing DOD and other government contracts,” Berman said.
RETAINING THE SAME LEVEL OF SERVICE
Berman said Arkansas APEX Accelerator will continue providing the “same high level of service as before” through no-cost one-on-one counseling, group training, matchmaker events, an electronic newsletter, social media updates, online bid-match services and on-demand web-based training.
“We will continue working with our partners in advancing equity, promoting competition and fostering innovation in the government marketplace,” Berman said.
In addition to these services, Berman said the program will expand to provide training and awareness materials on cybersecurity, risks of foreign ownership, control and influence, and intellectual property protection.
Berman said the name change will help bring important visibility to the business development program.
“We are here to help Arkansas businesses understand how to navigate the government marketplace and all it encompasses,” she said. “This increased visibility will only benefit businesses and provide our team of dedicated Arkansans with the tools they need to build the capacity of businesses that are interested in selling to the government–thus becoming part of the defense and government industrial base.”
For more information about the Arkansas APEX Accelerator, contact Melanie Berman at email@example.com or visit the Arkansas PTAC website.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension.
Rebekah Hall is with the communication services of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.
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