About Vendor Outreach Sessions (VOS)
What is VOS?
Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), Vendor Outreach Sessions are a series of pre-arranged 15-minute meetings with DHS Component Small Business Specialists (SBS) and large businesses. These sessions provide the small business community opportunities to discuss their capabilities with SBS and Primes and to learn more about doing business with DHS.
Why VOS is Important
In virtually every segment of the homeland security community, small businesses support the DHS mission, playing a critical role in delivering efficient and innovative solutions. Vendor Outreach is important to engage small businesses and support diversity, equity, inclusion, and new entrants in procurement resulting in increased prime and subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. In support of Vendor Outreach and Engagement, VOS, held 10 times each fiscal year, provides a platform for the small business community to discuss their capabilities with DHS (SBS) and large contractors learning more about doing business with DHS, and new and existing prime and subcontracting opportunities. Four of the VOS are reserved for Women-Owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned/Veteran-Owned, Small Disadvantaged including 8(a) and HUBZone small businesses. The DHS VOS is hailed as a federal best practice by continually making available to small businesses the opportunity to meet on a regularly scheduled basis with DHS small business specialists and large businesses for potential partnerships.
Effective October 1, 2022, there are significant changes to the VOS Program:
- Small businesses will be matched to counselors by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes or core competencies. There is no longer a “first come, first served” approach to VOS.
- After being matched by the scheduling system, small businesses must request a meetings with the counselors. Meeting requests can be requested up to three business days after each VOS opens.
- The meeting request will be reviewed, and the counselors will decide if the request meets current capability needs. After acceptance, a meeting confirmation email will be sent to the small business to include a link to the virtual meeting.
- Small businesses with confirmed meetings will be able to view their meeting dashboard in the Vendor Outreach Scheduling System.
- Small businesses without a confirmation email or a confirmed meeting in the dashboard do not have a meeting scheduled and will not be able to participate in the VOS for that specific month.
- Meeting spaces are still limited.
NOTE: All Small Businesses that have previously registered to participate 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. Additionally, if you have previously met with a DHS component within the last three months, please consider this before registering for any VOS. Direct contact with the component small business specialists to schedule a follow-up discussion outside of VOS is preferred. This allows more opportunities for other small businesses who have not met with DHS to request a meeting and discuss their capabilities.