The Power of Collaboration: The Need for Teaming Among Government Contractors

By Reena Bhatia, North Carolina Military Business Center

In the realm of government projects, collaboration has proven to be a driving force behind successful outcomes. The complexity and scale of government projects demand a collective effort from multiple contractors, giving rise to the need for teaming. By coming together, government contractors can tap into a wide range of benefits that bolster project efficiency and effectiveness.

One of the primary reasons for teaming among government contractors is the diverse skill sets and expertise each company brings to the table. Different contractors possess specialized knowledge in various domains, and teaming allows for the combination of these strengths. This amalgamation ensures that projects are approached comprehensively, leading to well-rounded and high-quality deliverables. Moreover, teaming fosters a culture of innovation and creativity. Entities like the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office(DEFTECH), a subsidiary of the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) is an excellent resource for innovative and non-traditional companies to partner with synergistic companies and make exponential leaps through teaming. When contractors from diverse backgrounds collaborate, they bring fresh perspectives and alternative solutions to the forefront. This cross-pollination of ideas sparks creativity, inspiring groundbreaking innovations that may not have been possible in isolation and most importantly support our warfighters, bio-defense, national security, and federal agencies delivering important public services.

Teaming also facilitates the sharing of risks and liabilities. Government projects are often fraught with uncertainties, but by collaborating, contractors can distribute and manage these risks more effectively. This not only protects individual interests but also keeps the focus on project objectives and successful completion. It is also a fantastic way for mature smaller companies to bid on larger opportunities, expanding their reach, capabilities, and capacity. 

There are different types of teaming arrangements which were discussed in some depth during a webinar hosted by NCMBC among government contractors, each serving specific purposes. Here’s a summary of few options:

  • Prime/Subcontractor Teaming: In this type of teaming, one contractor (the prime contractor) takes the lead and secures the contract with the government agency. The prime then subcontracts a portion of the work to other contractors with specialized expertise (subcontractors).
  • Joint Ventures: Contractors can form joint ventures, where two or more entities come together to create a new legal entity for a specific project. Joint ventures allow participants to share resources, risks, and profits while pooling their expertise.
  • Mentor-Protégé Programs: Some governments have mentor-protégé programs to promote teaming between larger, established contractors (mentors) and smaller, disadvantaged businesses (protégés). The mentor provides guidance and support to help the protégé develop its capabilities and grow.

Teaming among government contractors is a critical component of successful project execution. The collaboration of diverse expertise fosters innovation, shares risks, and produces cost-efficient and high-quality outcomes. Teaming and subcontracting contributes billions of dollars in Gross State Product, thus allowing Federal and DoD dollars to contribute to the betterment of local communities. Understanding the different types of teaming arrangements empowers contractors to explore suitable partnerships, ultimately contributing to the advancement of society through well-executed government projects.

For more information or assistance, contact the NCMBC or DEFTECH: