Business Opportunity Specialist
Donald Portrait

Location: Chicago, IL

Office: Illinois District Office

Position Summary: A Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS) serves a geographical area by supporting the business development of local 8(a) businesses. They conduct trainings on federal procurement for small business owners and attend procurement centered trade shows and expos to promote certification programs such as 8(a), Small Disadvantaged Owned Businesses, Women-Owned Small Business, and HUBZone.  A BOS also meets with prime contractors and public sector entities to forge relationships and create a better awareness of the programs and its services.

What excites me the most about my career with the SBA? I truly enjoy meeting with the diverse business community and learning how they started and grow their business while also providing guidance on how SBA can play a role in all stages of business start-up and growth.

How have you helped a small business start or grow? I have met with hundreds of small businesses over my 25+ years and provided crucial guidance on moving their business forward. I have also met with as many business owners to help them identify ways to sell to the public sector. This is one of the reasons I am so fortunate to work in the 8(a) program as a BOS. 

Have you had the opportunity to develop something new and innovative? I determined some years back that it was important to reach out to public sector agencies [other than federal] to train them on our programs/services so that they can participate in our events and become active supporters of our programs and work more closely with our resource partners and the small business community in general. 

How have you seen SBA grow and evolve over the years? Our tag line says it all: ”Smart Bold and Accessible”.  We have definitely become more forward thinking and developed more small business friendly programs that fit the needs of small businesses. We have become better listeners and more responsive to the small business community and our resource partners.