Secretary Del Toro Convened a meeting to Bolster Economic Development and Facilitate the Growth of Small Businesses

Del Toro
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 During his visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 7th, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro engaged with key leaders, including Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Lieutenant Governor Omar Marrero, and Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce Manuel Cidre, to underscore the Department of the Navy’s dedication to fostering small business development and collaboration in Puerto Rico.

Secretary Del Toro emphasized the importance of a robust and diverse industrial base for the Navy, Marine Corps, and the national economy. “I’m dedicating two days in Puerto Rico to explore opportunities for building and enhancing our relationships and economies,” he stated. Additionally, Secretary Del Toro took part in two small business roundtables: one organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency and another by the Joint U.S. Department of Defense and Navy.

Secretary Del Toro expressed his desire for increased small businesses, not to fulfill a quota, but because it benefits the economy and enhances national security and economic stability. “I understand that small and medium-sized businesses in Puerto Rico may face obstacles in competing on an equal footing. We need to dismantle those barriers to provide opportunities within our marketplace. That is my objective,” he emphasized.

Joann J. Hill, Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Customer Experience, highlighted the collaboration between the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the Department of Navy (DON), Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), and the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce for the day’s events. This collaboration aimed to support the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses. The programming included two business roundtables led by Secretary Carlos Del Toro, demonstrating a comprehensive government approach to assisting Puerto Rico small businesses. The focus was on educating these businesses about opportunities for working with the DON and the federal government, as well as leveraging resources such as the MBDA Business Center, Capital Readiness Program, and other Department of Commerce resources available in Puerto Rico.

Alyse Bullock, the Acting Deputy Director of the DON OSBP, provided insights on “How to Do Business with the DON” during the event. She encouraged attending businesses to explore the DON long-range acquisition estimates for insights into upcoming opportunities and to seek clarification on any queries they may have. Moreover, she discussed the effective utilization of Seaport NxG, recognized as Best in Class, and elaborated on various contract types within the DON, including fixed-price, cost reimbursement, award fee, incentive fee, and labor hour. Additionally, Bullock emphasized the significance of diversifying large contracts to foster opportunities for small businesses and adhering to the Rule of Two principle.

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