Co-working space hooks up government contractors

Some experts recommend that the D.C. region diversify its businesses to rely less on the federal government, but others suggest we should take advantage of the proximity.

Geoff Orazem, cofounder of Eastern Foundry, helps fledgling businesses learn to get into government contracting.

“Eastern Foundry is a reaction to me and my cofounders’ experience trying to start non-traditional government contracting businesses,” said Orazem.

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“At one point or the other, we had tried to start a government contracting business because we really believed that we had the best solution in town.”

Orazem said he became frustrated with “how little the merit of our ideas, and the capabilities that we had, seemed to matter when compared to the amount that process and relationship mastery seemed to matter.”

Eastern Foundry offers a solution. The co-working based model creates “economies of scale to get services at prices we could afford, we could share relationships inside of government agencies, and we could engage each other to coach, teach, mentor, and we could all get ahead,” Orazem told What’s Working in Washington.

“It gets me really excited to see just how much blue sky there is in this market. I think the government contracting market has this perception of being a very ossified, brown field setting. I’d argue almost the exact opposite,” he said.

This is because the federal government buys a vast array of products and services. “It’s one of the few organizations on earth that’s allowed to buy heroin, and fighter jets, and janitorial services,” said Orazem.

Eastern Foundry’s startups are similarly diverse.

“We do have a company that’s had tremendous success selling into the [Department of Defense] doing biodetection. They have a really clever solution to both detect the contents of a room and then also, as a secondary product, to suppress the contents of a room,” Orazem said.

Meanwhile, Eastern Foundry’s online training program Federal Foundry helps those outside the D.C. area access government contracting opportunities.

“Government contracting is a global endeavor. There are U.S. government contracts being led in every country under the sun, so we knew that we needed to have a scalable way to help entrepreneurs to access the U.S. federal space anywhere on earth,” said Orazem.

Listen to entire July 31 show: