ICYMI: Our President Talking About Tech & Innovation on the AZ Tech Council’s Podcast
Back in November, our Founder & President Jennifer Woods was invited onto the Arizona Technology Council’s AZ TechCast, a podcast dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona. She was honored to be joined by Ed Jimenez, Director of the State Procurement Office, and Paul Robles, State & Local Sales Executive for Google Cloud.
Karen Nowicki, President and Owner of Phoenix Business RadioX, and Steve Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, hosted the program. During what felt like a very short hour-long episode, Jennifer and her fellow guests covered a wide range of topics, including how public sector procurement operates, how decisions are made in the public vs. private sector and how Arizona continues to innovate around procurement. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the conversation.
The Challenges of Competing for Opportunities
One of the hottest topics discussed was how hard it can be for smaller companies to compete for public sector opportunities. “It takes time to work with the government,” said Jennifer. “When cash flow is king, you may not have 18 months or two years to get through the government contracting process as a startup.” Similarly, government contracts may not always be startup-friendly, and younger companies may not have all the qualifications and experience necessary.
Jenn went on to say: “Governments do not always want to work with the newest, shiniest or cheapest service. They want a solution that is reliable, safe and proven. Governments are processing food stamps, providing safe drinking water and processing tax returns. They need somebody who has done these things before.” Paul Robles then added a word of advice, saying that “great partnerships with an organization that has worked in the space before can help.”
Remember Commodities & Start Small
Despite these struggles, listeners of the podcast should be encouraged as there are still opportunities for new businesses. “A commodity is a commodity,” explained Ed Jimenez. “Even if we get a first-time requirement, it’s still a commodity.” Under the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act, there are plenty of new requirements and new opportunities, but there is still a commodity code that fits any kind of service.
When asked what advice or guidance the group would give to emerging technology companies, Jenn said, “Start small.” The State of Arizona has spent more than $7 billion in technology over the last four years alone. “You’re not going to get those big contracts if you’re brand new, but look at cities and towns and pick a smaller project to get your feet wet.”
Interested in learning how you can better contract with state and local government? We’d love to help.