The 1Bi2k Initiative
U.S. Air Force Pledges $1 Billion Dollars to Women-Owned
Businesses in 2000
By Judy Davis
The U.S. Air Force is making history by awarding one billion
dollars in contracts to women-owned businesses this year!
Mr. Tony DeLuca, Director of the Air Force Office of Small
and Disadvantaged Business Utilization calls it the 1Bi2K
Initiative and the program is a top Air Force priority! To
make good on the pledge, DeLuca has created a national outreach
program of innovative methods that help women entrepreneurs
do business with the Air Force through education, technical
assistance, conferences, and procurement strategies. As a
result, women-owned businesses are winning millions of dollars
in Air Force contracts in industries such as construction,
manufacturing, base services, and technology.
The 1Bi2K initiative grew out of several ongoing Air Force
endeavors to help women-owned businesses compete successfully
for government contracts. In 1992, the Air Force implemented
the groundbreaking Rule of One," which requires
the Air Force to solicit at least one woman-owned small business
for every contract over $100,000. Today, every Air Force base
across the U.S. employs specialists who work with small businesses
to meet procurement requirements.
If you are a woman with a business, wouldnt you like
to get in on the action? Heres how. First, log onto
the Internet and visit Air
Force Small Business Online. This Web site contains a
wealth of up-to-date information for women business owners,
including the Commerce Business Daily, contracting opportunities,
information technology tools, articles, and technical assistance.
Here are some of the resources and services that await you:
- Focused Outreach Events: regional conferences that
educate women business owners about government contracting.
Participants meet with procurement specialists, form teaming
agreements, and learn about government resources for small
businesses. These events have reached hundreds of women-owned
businesses in six states and have resulted in more than
$23.5 million dollars awarded to women-owned businesses!
- WOBLink: a national online database of women-owned
businesses. Over 45,000 businesses are listed with WOBLink
and registration is free! Air Force procurement specialists
search WOBLink to find businesses with products and capabilities
that match their acquisition needs.
- Air Force Mentor Protégé Program:
small businesses team with larger contractors for advice
and guidance. The program has resulted in awards of $5.2
million dollars to participants!
- Long Range Acquisition Estimate: a procurement
forecast tool that helps businesses prepare their proposals
early and predict upcoming Air Force solicitations.
- Small Business News Review: an online quarterly
newsletter featuring success stories about contracts to
woman-owned small businesses.
- Virtual Teaming Center: a place to find teaming
partners to compete for larger contracts, which are often
beyond the reach of small companies.
- Interactive Electronic Mall: an electronic marketplace
for minority institutions, colleges, universities, and small,
minority and woman-owned businesses. Visitors can market
their services, as well as shop for opportunities, news,
teaming partners, technical assistance, and training.
The U.S. Air Force is committed to helping women entrepreneurs
gain parity in the economic marketplace. The information and
opportunities for government contracting are available now,
and part of the $1 billion dollar pie could be yours! So get
your mouse ready, click and go! Historically speaking, there
has never been a better time than now to be a woman managing
her own company.