Small businesses are essential to our international development work. In 2015, 38 percent of our U.S. subcontracting dollars were awarded to small businesses. We rely on our small business partners to provide a range of niche services driven by innovative and time-tested results, such as justice reform, environmental management, tax advisory, anticorruption, microfinance, and local capacity building services.
Chemonics strives to build lasting relationships with small business partners that extend beyond the life of a single project. We actively seek to develop working relationships with women-owned, disadvantaged, historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone), veteran-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses with proven experience in diverse geographic regions and technical sectors in the international development arena.
Chemonics’ Small Business Fairs
Successful small business partnerships often begin with Chemonics’ small business fairs, designed to introduce international development-focused small businesses to Chemonics staff. Since 2001, these small business fairs have exposed small businesses to an array of possible partners and strengthened the company’s performance in small-business contracting. They have also provided a platform to engage small businesses on Chemonics' approach to teaming through panel discussions with Chemonics staff and our long-standing small business partners.
Previous fairs have led to many long-lasting relationships with small business partners. Now known as partners’ fairs, they give Chemonics an opportunity to build strong partnerships with small businesses to collectively achieve our mission of helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives around the world.
In our 2014 partners’ fair, we targeted HUBZone, veteran-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The fair introduced potential small businesses to Chemonics’ new business directors and members of the Executive Management Team, and aimed to strengthen the company’s performance on working with these three small business concerns. The fair featured presentations on partnering with Chemonics and working with USAID, and ended with a matchmaking session, giving new business teams the chance to have one-on-one interactions with small business representatives.
Mentor-protégé programs strengthen emerging small businesses and give them opportunities for growth. This program, used by many federal government agencies, is new to USAID and Chemonics. We encourage businesses with international development work experience to forward their corporate information and capabilities statement to us.