Each fiscal year (FY) the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), as part of the Small Business Outreach Program, virtually conducts ten sessions of 15-minute pre-arranged meetings with small businesses. Vendor Outreach Sessions (VOS) provides small businesses with a platform to discuss their capabilities, learn about DHS procurements, and meet with large businesses to discuss subcontracting and partnering opportunities. We reserve four sessions for women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, small disadvantaged (including 8(a)) and HUBZone small businesses. VOS is conducted by DHS Small Business Specialists (SBS) from each operational contracting component and large businesses (“counselors”). The next DHS VOS is July 27, 2023, and open to all small businesses. Refer to the DHS VOS FY 2023 Schedule to view or download the calendar and read the Small Business Vendor Outreach Sessions’ instructions carefully.
Effective October 1, 2022 (Fiscal Year 2023 VOS), there are significant changes to the VOS Program:
- It matches small businesses to counselors by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes or core competencies. There is no longer a “first come, first served” approach to VOS meetings.
- After being matched by the scheduling system, small businesses must request meetings with the counselors. You can request up to three business days after each VOS opens.
- The meeting request will undergo review, and the counselors will decide if the request meets current capability needs. After acceptance, we will send a meeting confirmation email to the small business to include a link to the virtual meeting information.
- Small businesses with confirmed meetings will view their meeting dashboard in the DHS Vendor Outreach Scheduling System.
- Small businesses without a confirmation email or a confirmed meeting in the dashboard do not have a meeting scheduled and cannot take part in the VOS for that specific month.
- Meeting spaces are still limited.
Meeting requests for the July 27, 2023, VOS will begin on July 13, 2023, at 12:00 noon, eastern standard time (EST) and close on July 18, 2023, at 11:59 p.m., EST. Please read the instructions carefully at Small Business Vendor Outreach Sessions | Homeland Security (dhs.gov). Be aware that requesting a meeting does not guarantee a meeting and each counselor (SBS and large business) will only accept meetings that support their needs.
NOTE: All small businesses that have previously registered to take part in a VOS must update their profile to complete additional mandatory fields. For example, NAICS Codes and a capability statement are now required. Some businesses may need to re-register. If you have previously met with a DHS component within the last three months, please consider this before registering for any VOS. Directly contact the component small business specialists to schedule a follow-up discussion outside of VOS instead. This allows more opportunities for other small businesses who have not met with DHS to request a meeting and discuss their capabilities.
Each profile must include a valid email address compatible with various virtual meeting tools (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc.). If connectivity issues occur using the virtual VOS links provided, expect to conduct the session telephonically. There are some DHS components that cannot access certain virtual tools. In those instances, we consider Microsoft Teams the preferred tool.