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Congressman Jim Banks and Ivy Tech Community College provide workshops to help businesses grow

For small businesses, sometimes it can be hard to navigate through the government's contracting system, but with knowledge and networking it can be done. Some small business owners are learning first hand what it takes to get the government on board.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 7:45 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 9:01 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Congressman Jim Banks and Ivy Tech Community College are teaming up for free workshops on federal and defense contracting so small business owners can grow their business in ways they may not have thought possible.

"We've seen a significant decline in government contracts in this region and a significant decline of defense industry jobs," Banks said.

The goal is to help local companies learn how to interact with the federal government and pursue government contracts, which some owners say isn't an easy task if you don't have the tools and knowledge when you're starting out.

"Not only is that contract telling you what you have to do, it also tells you all the legal parts of what you have to be able to do,"Stacey Smith said.

After a lot of work, Stacey Smith ,the President and CEO of Prairie Quest Consulting in Fort Wayne, got a combined project for $83 million. There are others in attendance hoping to network and follow in her footsteps like Antonio Stewart.

"It's very important because if you don't have a name or brand recognition, you can't sell what your services are,"Stewart said.

Stacey Smith said, as a business owner, presenting a solution you can provide and bring to the government that they can't do themselves tends to be a good pitch, but she said workshops like these connect you with the right people to make those contracts solid.

"You have to understand three letter acronyms, codes and different regulations. No small business is going to be able to master those things starting out. That's when you surround yourself with smart people like the people from the PTAC and from the SBA because that's what their focus is. It's free. You should take advantage of those things if that's what you're really wanting to do."

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