Twenty-three small, minority owned information technology companies have teamed up to form a consortium aimed at winning $7.06 billion in technology related government contracts from the United States Air Force.
Called the Minority Information Technology Consortium (MITC), the group wants to give opportunities to companies that traditionally do not get them. Harith Razaa, chief executive officer of the MITC, said when large military technology contracts are dished out, many smaller owned companies are left behind.
“We looked for smaller minority businesses that have past performance but don’t get any opportunities by the very nature of how contracts are scoped. What I wanted to do is find a process or a methodology that would allow small businesses to team up and pool their resources, get great bandwidth and more money. We want them to get together to go after some of these larger contracts,” Razaa said.
The companies in the MITC are all minority-owned. Razaa says such businesses are typically small, earning $3-$10 million in revenue. On top of lacking financial wherewithal to compete for prominent military contracts, the companies lack the proper security clearances. “You can’t apply to get a security clearance, it has to be conferred by someone who already has one. This is hard to get when you’re a small company,” Razaa said.
Razaa’s group will attempt to win government contracts from the Air Force’s NETCENTS 2 program, which will procure hardware and software for voice and data networking. The project has $7.06 billion allocated for small businesses, cut up into three sections: net operations, applications and IT services. He said he hopes the second NETCENTS will go a lot better for small, minority companies than the first.
“For the first NETCENTS project the Air Force decided it’d give out contracts to four large businesses and four small businesses. Well, the contract was so large that half of the four small businesses became large companies. The others got bought out by bigger companies. They all got to keep their contracts, even though they weren’t small anymore,” Razaa said.
If Razaa’s group gets awarded the contract, it has worked out a deal where everyone will get a piece of the pie. Some member companies will be the prime beneficiary while others will work as te prime sub-contractors. Either way, “We’re trying to go after as many contracts that make sure everyone can get something,” Razaa says.
To ensure involvement at a collegiate level, the MITC has partnered with three historically black colleges, Hampton University, North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, and Tennessee State University.
— by Gabriel Perna – International Business Times – Tuesday, June 29, 2010 8:27 AM EDT