Connecting to Fort Bragg and the military community can be a challenge even in an area with over 50,000 military and civilian personnel on post and 120,000 military retirees and their families in the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area. To do business on post, to support our soldiers or to even understand military issues, Fayetteville area organizations have an easy way to link together the civilian and military workforces.
One of these organizations is MAC, or the Military Affairs Council, of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber which has the purpose of connecting the business community to military partners at Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield. Through socials, golf tournaments, Command Power breakfasts and other networking events, MAC has spent decades providing means to connect the civilian and military communities. These networking events can be invaluable considering the opportunities for personally meeting with leaders from Fort Bragg and Pope Army Airfield and allowing the same for military and their families to get to know the Fayetteville area.
Fort Bragg is one of the first calls in times of crisis or major troop deployments, and MAC is there to help keep lines of communication open and to provide assistance and support to military and their families. MAC also assisted in the fundraising for the Wall of Heroes at the United States Army Special Operations Command’s Memorial Plaza on Fort Bragg.
As a member in MAC, the Fayetteville Chamber outlines the following benefits:
• Invitation to attend events and socials that build better relationships and communications between the Fayetteville community and the service members and their families
• Lobbying community positions with the military by keeping the lines of communication open and recognizing the military’s value to our community
• Command briefings from Pope AAF and Fort Bragg to enlighten MAC members about the specific mission of each military installation and its impact on the community at-large
• Advocacy for policies that support active-duty military, their families, and operations on Fort Bragg
• Newcomer information acquainting the military with our community • Programs to inform our military population of the business, recreational, and social benefits of the Fayetteville community
• Opportunity for partner recognition in Chamber newsletters
• Opportunity for partners to sponsor events and programs
• Business networking opportunities
• Invitation for MAC partners to special events at Fort Bragg and Pope AAF (COVID restrictions may apply)
• MAC membership decal and MAC lapel pin
“We encourage all our chamber members to join MAC; however, this year has been a bit tough to host the normal events with COVID, deployments and lockdowns on the base,” Shari Fiveash, Greater Fayetteville Chamber president and CEO, said. “We have scheduled several programs only to reschedule, but recent conversations with the Garrison Commander and generals on base note that they are wanting to open the interaction and begin events in the near future.”
To find out more about membership in MAC or how to get involved, call Shari Fiveash at the Greater Fayetteville Chamber at 910-483-8133.
The North Carolina Military Business Center is another organization with a large presence in the Fayetteville area. Situated at Fayetteville Technical Community College, the business development team works to provide services to businesses across the state and specifically leverages military and other federal business opportunities for economic development and job creation.
The military business center is part of the community college system for a variety of reasons.
According to Smedick, some of these reasons include that, “Community colleges have strong business and industry support function; all community colleges host a Small Business Center. The NCMBC compliments these centers across the state to support businesses interested in pursuing or expanding their federal marketplace footprint. For example: With one outreach to 58 community colleges the NCMBC can scour the state to find a business with a unique capability for a small business category to meet the needs of a federal agency; community colleges have an existing infrastructure across the state in close proximity to businesses in all 100 counties. NCMBC can leverage this infrastructure to connect with businesses all across the state to prepare, train, and assist with competition and execution of federal contracts; community colleges provide logistical and administrative support to all NCMBC offices. This allows the NCMBC to dedicate 100 percent of state funding to operations in support of businesses performing federal contracts and not to organizational overhead.”
According to its website, “The NCMBC’s primary goal is to increase federal revenues for businesses in North Carolina. The Department of Defense has an annual impact of $66 billion and is the second largest sector of North Carolina’s economy (12% GDP). With six major military bases, over 100 National Guard and 40 Army Reserve facilities and the third highest number of uniformed military personnel in the country, the State of North Carolina created the NCMBC to leverage opportunities with these installations, DoD commands and federal agencies operating worldwide.”
NCMBC is state funded for business development and technological transition, and its mission is to “leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs and improve quality of life in NC.”
Since 2005, NCMBC has collaborated between North Carolina businesses and the North Carolina community college system, hosted from 13 locations statewide including several community colleges, where team members “identify current and future military contract opportunities, identify and notify businesses that can do the work, pre-position and team businesses to compete and assist businesses to bid on and win government contracts.”
Business development is the lead goal for successfully helping firms understand the government requests, how to prepare proposals and successfully achieve federal contracts.
“Businesses can get involved by contacting their local Small Business Center, by signing up for MatchForce.org and connecting with their regional representative with the NCMBC: www.ncmbc.us/ contact-us-ncmbc_staff. The benefit to business is training, one-on-one counseling, business development, and business assistance in identifying, competing and executing federal contracts, 23 percent of which are targeted by the federal government to small businesses,” said Courtney Smedick, who oversees statewide integrated marketing, the coordination of events, and government relations at the business center.
Another way that NCMBC champions contracts and job opportunities is MatchForce.org, a free web portal that helps match North Carolina firms to contract opportunities and job seekers to employment opportunities posted by registered North Carolina companies. It currently hosts 178,900 federal and local contracts available for businesses to view and local businesses can be matched to federal prime and subcontracting opportunities posted. If one-on-one assistance is needed, a team member at FTCC is willing to help.
There are also several strategic initiatives that NCMBC directs including market intelligence, pre-positioning and training, solicitation and proposal support, training and other resources as well as events and networking that focus on medical, aerospace, cybersecurity, military construction and textile and soldier system industries. The NC Defense Technology Transition Office, also known as DEFTECH, was established to also increase economic opportunities across the state for businesses and address complex national security issues.
To find out more about NCMBC, visit www.ncmbc.us.
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