Doing business with the government can be challenging for a small business. But it can also be extremely rewarding. Once the choice has been made to be a government contractor, often the largest hurdle is identifying and then meeting the many requirements set by government departments and agencies. Fortunately, the Florida PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) at UCF – in partnership with the Florida SBDC at UCF – is available to help.
Florida PTAC at UCF is where Jeannette Coronado and husband Richard Coronado turned when they decided to move their business away from commercial customers and into the government sector. Their company, JIRACOR LLC, had been successfully offering services to businesses, but they saw a bigger opportunity in government work.
“When we started in our new direction, we didn’t know about doing business with the government, about their requirements and expectations” recalls Jeannette Coronado. “That’s where the Florida PTAC came in. They helped us. They educated us. They guided us.”
“At the beginning, working with government, in our case the U.S. Department of Defense, was scary because the requirements they have are very specialized,” she continued. “To be in the game, you need to get security clearances, have approved accounting systems, speak their language and understand all their acronyms. Then you have to know how to find contract opportunities, how to bid on them, and what to do when you win. It can be overwhelming.”
The Florida PTAC provided an extensive list of services to the Coronado’s, including no-cost consulting, training, assistance with obtaining key certifications and registering with the government’s SAM (System for Award Management) system, not to mention offering matchmaking events and strategies for working with the government. “There are so many boxes you have to check to win government contracts,” says Jeannette. “The Florida PTAC explains it all and makes it possible to check them all off.”
Thanks to the Coronado’s hard work and the help of their Florida PTAC specialist, today JIRACOR is an established government contractor. With Jeannette as CEO and Richard as President, the company offers training & logistics support, manufacturing and fabrications services and depot-level maintenance and repairs. They are an SBA 8(a) and woman-owned certified business and have met ISO 90001 and AS9100 quality management systems standards.
“When we first went into the Florida PTAC, we were not procurement ready,’ states Richard Coronado. “From their mentoring, their classes, their consulting, their advice on our business plan, now we are winning contracts and ready for more. The Department of Defense could award us a multi-million-dollar sole source contract tomorrow and we are ready with the people and infrastructure to execute it. As it is, we have seen our revenues increase by more than 200% since we started consulting with the Florida PTAC.”
“If it weren’t for the Florida PTAC, we at JIRACOR probably wouldn’t be here,” he concluded. “Our experience has been awesome! They have great consultants. They have great services. They have great training. All at little or no cost. Getting all of the certifications, advice, knowledge and support from PTAC has made the difference for us.”