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New Partnership Helps Small Businesses Use Technological Edge to Gain Government Contracts

One of the toughest challenges a small business can face is competing against larger enterprises to win critical contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense. A new partnership between Duquesne’s A.J. Palumbo School of Business and The Doyle Center for Manufacturing Technology has evened out the playing field, giving local small businesses an edge in battling for these lucrative federal government contracts.

Through this unique collaboration, Duquesne University has teamed up with The Doyle Center—which was established on the South Side by U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle to connect small manufacturing firms with innovative research, development and technology—to create a Virtual Manufacturing Enterprise (VME), an online system that allows small businesses to easily apply for Department of Defense contracts. Dr. Kenneth Saban, associate business professor, and Executive Assistant Business Professor John Mawhinney are leading the project for the university.

“Duquesne is uniquely qualified to participate in this project because of our knowledge regarding technology integration,” said Saban. “We also have practical experience helping businesses incorporate technologies like material resource planning, just-in-time delivery, total quality management and supply chain management.”

The Department of Defense initiated the VME project as a way to help increase its contracts with small manufacturers, as it currently needs suppliers to provide essential materials. Through the VME, Duquesne’s Business School is directly helping area small businesses meet that need by providing them with access to the technology they need to qualify for and gain Department of Defense contracts.

“The Virtual Manufacturing Enterprise project has provided the A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration and its students with a great opportunity to help local small businesses effectively compete for important government contracts,” said Dr. Alan Miciak, dean of the Business School. “In helping with this important outreach project, our students are gaining valuable experience and assisting small business owners in finding exciting new outlets for their products.”

The VME project supports both the university’s and the Business School’s missions by offering its students in-depth experience in the evolution of the newest business models as well as insight that will give them a distinct advantage when they enter the corporate world. In addition to establishing the virtual system, Duquesne’s Business School is reaching out to local small businesses to make them aware of the new technology and teach them how to use it.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.