A new resource aimed at helping small businesses secure federal contracts will be housed at Niagara University.
Thanks to a $299,955 federal grant secured by the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, the Niagara Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will provide mentoring, training and technical assistance to help small businesses in Niagara win contracts from the Defense Department and General Services Administration.
Intended to assist “distressed” communities in complying with requirements that a certain percentage of federal contracts go to women-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses, procurement centers work to make sure that a broader group of small businesses has the opportunity to bid on contracts with the Defense Department and GSA.
Niagara County was described as a “distressed area” in the application for the grant.
A program coordinated through the Defense Logistics Agency, there are 97 procurement centers nationwide, including one each in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. According to census data, the county has more than 3,600 businesses that employ fewer than 500 workers.
According to Dr. Shawn Daly, dean of Niagara’s College of Business Administration, “The PTAC is yet another way that Niagara University works with businesses and government to promote the development of our region. The interaction among business owners, faculty and students will provide opportunities for growth in both economic and academic dimensions. We look forward to partnering with the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara in this project and in building the presence of WTCBN in Niagara County.”
The Niagara procurement center will employ two full-time and two part-time employees and plans to open by Jan. 1, 2013. Offices for the procurement center will be situated on Niagara University’s campus, while office equipment and some staffing will be provided by the World Trade Center.
The Buffalo Niagara International Trade Foundation, an arm of the World Trade Center, received a one-year grant to fund the Niagara County procurement center, but the grant can be extended for an additional year or two.