Oklahoma City, OK; March 26-28, 2013 — Business owners in attendance peppered the MAGIC panel with questions: “How much will it cost us?” “Does it take long?” Will there be any real benefit to my company?” “How do the changes affect us?”
The questions were asked in response to information presented by a coalition of government experts and area contracting companies brought together to discuss changes to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Mentor-Protégé Program—changes resulting from passage of the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law in January 2013.
Host of the three-day conference was the Mid-America Government Industry Coalition Inc. (MAGIC), a regional trade association based in Oklahoma City which promotes acquiring new business both independently and through strategic alliances. MAGIC membership is primarily midwestern and west south central United States companies and associations working in federal contracting. These organizations benefit from MAGIC’s forums for business development and technical assistance.
Sandeep Sharma, president and CEO of Global Consulting International (GCI), was invited to be a member of a MAGIC panel that included representatives of five small businesses. After discussing their own mentor-protégé experiences the panelists answered participants‘ questions. They explained how being part of the mentor-protégé program has helped them and their employees, what procedures to follow to become part of the program, and what to expect from being a protégé company.
GCI as Protégé: GCI is currently in the second year of a three-year mentor-protégé agreement sponsored by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Department of Defense. GCI is benefitting from being mentored by Chenega Technology Services Corporation LLC (CTSC), the largest independent subsidiary of the Chenega Corporation. Sandeep Sharma is quick to point out that being part of the program with Chenega as mentor has “taken GCI to a totally different level.”
Mr. Sharma feels the most important thing the mentor-protégé alliance has taught GCI is to “think big.” He believes the benefits of the mentor-protégé relationship were felt almost immediately because within the first quarter of their mentor-protégé agreement Chenega started training GCI employees in using new techniques and following new business processes and procedures.
As Mr. Sharma explains, “The purpose of the mentor-protégé program is to help small businesses grow by giving them the benefit of the mentor’s experience and knowledge and by exposing them to new tools to use for their own success.” Chenega has been an awesome mentor,” he adds. “They have helped us tremendously.”
While GCI started as an information technology (IT) company and branched out into military medical staffing, engineering and logistics, GCI is now looking forward to providing increased engineering services and contributing to the country’s aviation sector.